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The power of Z E N 

o Micro-sized MP3 player ° Mesmerizing blue glow ° Curved to fit in the palm of your hand 

o Up to 12-hour battery life on a single charge ° Removable battery to extend playtime another 12 hours 

o FM radio ° Voice recorder ° Intuitive vertical touch pad control 

o Access over 2 million songs through Zen supported online music services 

Music Library 


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The color of Z E N 

Micra 6 

FROM arhe 



You will not believe the rich clean sound from a system so small it can go just about 
anywhere. An elegant center channel and four matching satellites come complete 
with adjustable mounting brackets, making for the perfect plasma or LCD display 
solution. The matching subwoofer is stylish enough to show off, or small enough to 
hide, providing deep rich bass to shake your soul. Come hear what all the critics have 
been raving about, the tiny Micra 6 from athena TECHNOLOGIES. 
Add a little soul to your system. 




North America I API 3641 McNicoll Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada MiX 1G5 • Tel: 416.321.1800 

Australia I Audio Products Pty Ltd, Unit 6,61-67 O'Riordi an S, Alexandria, Australia 2015 • Tel+612 966 93477 

Europe 1 API Europe BV Poppenbouwing 56, Geldermalsen, Netherlands, 4191 Nz • Tel: +31345588080 

Defining Sound I 

InhuiNvely Designed. 



High Definition | redefined. 

Award winning Optoma DLP™ HDTV Series delivers a 1280 x 720, widescreen DVI pure digital image. 
Unmatched 1% overscan allows you to watch the full image from either computer or video source. Extra 
wide viewing angle and a 16:9 non-reflective screen means richer blacks with no image burn-in, fading, 
or degradation, Optoma Plasma Series offers a full 50" screen with an incredible 3000:1 contrast ratio 
and a resolution of 1 ,366 x 768 addressable pixels. Optoma Front Projection Series offers the very best 
in Home Theater experience. 

"The Optoma RD50/RD65 delivered outstanding image and picture quality for both computer and video applications to capture 
the 2004 Displaymate Best Video Hardware Guide™ ' FiveFive-Star Award for the best large screen High Definition Television 
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Optoma has an HDTV Solution that's just right for YOU. 

DLP Front Projection Series DLP Rear Projection Series 

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j 1 


In the Mood? 

Entertaining? Relaxing? Romancing? Whatever life brings, 
Vantage automation is the solution to set the mood! 



Your in Automation & Lighting Control 

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lifestyle close-up 

Portable DVD Players 

Portable DVD players are great for just about 
everyone, from jet-setting professionals to kids on long 
road trips. And the industry reflects that attractive- 
ness: There are dozens and dozens of models to choose 
from. But what kind will fit you and your family's 
lifestyle? We'll give you shopping tips, size and weight 
guidelines, and examples of the latest technology to 
make your portable DVD player a solid and enter- 
taining investment. 

Take-Out Entertainment 

Portable DVD Players 

Family-Friendly DVD Players 

Find The Right Fit For Your Household 

For Portable DVD Players . . . 

Size Does Matter 

CE Dejargonator 

Progressive Scan 

Copyright 2005 by Sandhills Publishing Company. All rights reserved. 
Reproduction of material appearing in CE Lifestyles, Volume 2 Issue 4 is 
strictly prohibited without written permission. Printed in the U.S.A. GST # 
123482788RT0001. CE Lifestyles (ISSN 1554-2106) is published monthly 
by Sandhills Publishing Company, 131 West Grand Drive, P.O. Box 85380, 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Subscriber Services: (800) 733-3809. POST- 
MASTER: Send address changes to CE Lifestyles, P.O. Box 85380, 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380. Periodicals postage pending at Lincoln, NE. 

Table Of Contents 
Volume 2 Issue 4 


There's always something new, interesting, and stylish hap- 
pening in the world of consumer electronics. That's why the 
Open section packs the latest news and trends into the first few 
pages of CE Lifestyles, along with the sparkle and bling that you 
can buy to accessorize your devices. 


CE News 

18 ShelfWatch 

A Look At The Latest Consumer Electronics 

22 Outfit Your Life 

Accessories With Style 

A/V Club 

Some of our favorite electronic gadgets are the ones that provide the sounds and pictures that 
move and entertain us and our friends and family. Whether you want to put together a wireless 
audio system for your home or just want help using the plasma TV in your living room, A/V 
Club can help. 

24 Aesthetics Of Audio 

Virtual Surround Sound 

3 I The Multimedia Car 

Hit The Road In Style 

34 Tips 

Bass & Treble 

Digital Studio 

Digital cameras and camcorders are changing the way we record the moments of our lives, from 
quick snapshots of favorite vacation spots to priceless video clips of first steps and other impor- 
tant milestones. Get to know your new digicam or camcorder and learn what to do with your 
photos and video once you have them. 

(5/ Picture This 

Qurio's Software Simplifies 
Photo Sharing 

62 Get The Shot .. . 

For Less 


Know How 

One Problem, Three Solutions 


White Balance 

Speakers should be heard, not seen. 
That's why we put them in the screen. 

Introducing the 

Da-Lite Acoustical Imager 

Designed for your decor and engineered for your senses. This 
revolutionary home theater system combines the clarity of a fixed 
Da-Lite screen with the harmony of a JBL 5.1 audio surround sound 
system. The Da-Lite Acoustical Imager is simple to set up. The left, 
right and center speakers are integrated into the screen's frame. 
The compact surround sound speakers bring up the rear while the 
subwoofer delivers the bass for a truly remarkable home theater 
experience. Choose between a Video or an HDTV screen. 
Available in eight projection surfaces. Or have Da-Lite custom build 
a screen for your home theater. 

Three speakers integrated into the frame, 
two surround sound speakers and a 
subwoofer complete the system. 





For a free Home Theater Catalog and screen 
recommendations, call toll free or visit us online. 

1-800-622-3737 • ©2005 da-lite screen company, inc. 

CE ©Home 

The consumer electronics in our homes are 
no longer limited to TVs and DVD players. 
Smart appliances, home automation, and 
whole-house audio systems are becoming 
more and more common and affordable for 
families, and with so much available, why 
check CE at the door? 

70 Go, Robot! 

i Robot's Roomba Discovery Wants 
To Catch Your Dirt 

/ O Living Smart At Playa Vista 

A New California Community Brings 
Cutting-Edge Technology Home 

83 Tips 

Energy Efficiency At Home 

CE Lite 

Most CE devices are all about fun. Here, we'll 
tell you about the latest albums and films to 
catch, so you can make sure your entertain- 
ment is as up-to-date as your gear. And so as 
not to forget our roots, "Retroscope" traces 
how a favorite CE device has changed over 
the years. 



Music & Movies 

Editor's Note 

Whether we admit it or not, the perfect look is important to most things in our lives. And not just 
the look; I mean The Look. That aura that's emanated when something is the most attractive and 
most fashionable it can be, universally appealing and singularly eye-catching. From our homes to our 
handbags, we want The Look. 

The consumer electronics industry has indeed caught on, creating hip and streamlined home-theater 
speakers and designer laptop bags fit for Carrie Bradshaw. Many manufacturers have also started cre- 
ating CE devices that are not only good-looking but they are also unobtrusive and visually take a back 
seat in our day-to-day lives. For instance, in this issue (on page 24), we cover virtual surround sound, a 
technology where two speakers trick your brain into thinking there are six or more, which eliminates 
the clutter and mess that one risks with the wires and cables of conventional home-theater systems. 
Manufacturers know that modern women want The Look, while simultaneously striving to incorporate 
the latest technology into their homes and everyday lifestyles. 

The Look is exceptionally important to us here at CE Lifestyles, not only in terms of the products and 
technologies we feature, but also in how we feature them. You'll notice a few visual changes this issue, 
ones that we think reflect what our readers want to see in all areas of their lives: functional, contempo- 
rary, quality-driven products and ideas presented fashionably and 
attractively, pleasing both our eyes and our minds. That's what we 
want out of a new suede ottoman; it goes without saying that it's 
what we want out of our digital cameras. 

Live well, friends. 

Katie Sommer 

Editor, CE Lifestyles 



Editorial Staff* Ronald D. Kobler / Katie 
Sommer / Kathryn Dolan /Jennifer Suggitt 
/ Samit Gupta Choudhuri / Corey Russman 
/ Rod Scher / Christopher Trumble / Calvin 
Clinchard / Kimberly Fitzke / Blaine Flamig 
/ Raejean Brooks / Rebecca Christensen / 
Tara Weber / Sally Curran / Michael Sweet 
/ Nate Hoppe / Trista Kunce / Sheila Allen / 
Linne Ourada / Liz Dixon / Ryan Syrek / Joy 
Martin / Brian Weed / Sarie Whitson / 
Marty Sems / Chad Denton / Nathan 
Chandler / Kylee Dickey / Josh Gulick / 
Andrew Leibman / Vince Cogley / Sam 

Customer Service: Alisha Lamb / Brandie 
Humphrey / Becky Rezabek / Lana Matic 
/ Lindsay Albers 

Subscription Renewals: Liz Kohout / 
Connie Beatty / Matt Boiling / Patrick 
Kean / Charmaine Vondra / Miden Ebert 
/ Kathy DeCoito / Stephanie Contreras / 
Nicole Buckendahl / Travis Brock 

Art & Design: Lesa Call / Fred Schneider / 
Carrie Benes / Ginger Riley / Sonja 
Warner / Leigh Trompke / Aaron Weston 
/ Aaron Clark / Kelli Lambertsen / Lori 
Garris / Jason Codr / Andria Schultz / 
Erin Rodriguez / Lindsay Anker 

Web Staff* Missy Fletcher / Dorene 
Krausnick / Nick Ray / Laura Curry 

Newsstand: Garth Lienemann / Kelly 
Richardson / Chris McGreer / Jeff 

Advertising Sales: Grant Ossenkop / 
Cindy Pieper / Brooke Wolzen / Eric 
Cobb / Emily Getzschman 

Marketing: Mark Peery / Marcy Gunn / 
Amber Coffin /Jen Clausen / Ashley 
Hannant / Scot Banks / Luke Vavricek 

Customer Service 

(For questions about your subscription or 
to place an order or change an address.) 
(800) 733-3809 
FAX: (402) 479-2193 

CE Lifestyles 

P.O. Box 85380 
Lincoln, NE 68501-5380 


Mon. - Fri.: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST) 
Sat: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST) 
Online Customer Service 
& Subscription Center 

Web Services 

(For questions about our Web site.) 

(800) 368-8304 

Authorization For Reprints 

(800) 334-7458 
FAX: (402) 479-2104 

Editorial Staff 
FAX: (402) 479-2104 
131 W.Grand Drive 
Lincoln, NE 68521 

Subscription Renewals 

(800) 424-7900 
FAX: (402) 479-2193 

Advertising Staff 

FAX: (402) 479-2193 
120 W. Harvest Dr. 
Lincoln, NE 68521 

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I Lifestyle^ 

The beauty and warmth of real maple or cherry come to life in the distinctive style of new Woodbrook furniture from Sanus. 

The fine lines provide a beautifully functional setting for your audio and video components, with convection cooling engineered 

into the cabinet design. Choose from a variety of door and drawer options. See Woodbrook furniture and more 

at Come and browse through the woods. 






ce news 

Compiled by Tracy Baker 

More Efficient iPods 

If you have yet to jump on the iPod bandwagon, you may want to wait until the 
model you most desire incorporates Portal Player's PP5022 System-On-Chip 
( Portal Player's products are the brains that let iPods play 
music and work all of their other tricks (including displaying information on the de- 
vice's screen), and the company claims its latest hardware is so efficient that previous 
iPod models that incorporate the new technology may have up to three times the 
battery life of past models. PortalPlayer accomplished this by reducing the amount of 
electricity the PP5022 needs to function, including dramatic reductions in the power 
requirements for battery-eating system memory. The iPod's processor must work hard 
to decode digital audio for playback, which draws a lot of power from the battery, but 
the PP5022 makes the decoding process more efficient, letting the processor do its 
work at lower overall speeds to conserve even more battery life. 

If you're curious about real-world performance compared to the company's claims, 
look no further than the latest version of the iPod mini, with its maximum claimed 
battery life of 18 hours. That's more than twice the battery life of the original model, 
thanks mainly to the PP5022. 

iPod mini 







Shuffle Songs 


^^r MENU 

1 \« 

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PEBL Adds A Little Estrogen To The Cell Phone Market 

Motorola's PEBL V6 sports curves that 
would make a supermodel jealous, but 
Motorola is being tight-lipped about the 
specifications of its latest must-have cell 
phone. We know it's designed so you can 
easily open it with just one hand and it sup- 
ports Motorola's EDGE technology for ac- 
cessing data at relatively high speeds. That 
will be nice because the phone has an inte- 
grated camera that takes still images or cap- 
tures full-motion video, which are stored in 
the 5MB of integrated memory. The PEBL 
supports Bluetooth to wirelessly connect 
the phone to headsets or other products 
that use that popular wireless networking 
standard, and you can configure your phone 
to automatically grab weather reports, 
headlines, and other vital information so 
you can access it at a glance. 

12 May 2005 / 

ce news Op© II 

Adidas Announces High-Tech Running Shoe For The Weil-Heeled 

CE has finally hit the road — literally — with the announcement of the Adidas 1 
($250; That's a lot of cash for a pair of running shoes, but you're 
also paying for computers, sensors, and other technology hidden in each shoe that 
take readings 1,000 times per second and dynamically adjust the stiffness of the heel 
based on what you're doing. When you're walking, for instance, the system powers 
off to conserve battery life, but when you're running, the computers spring to life, 
adjusting the tension in a cable to make the heel more or less stiff, depending on 
how much shock the sensors measure each time your shoe hits 
the pavement. Adidas claims the battery that powers this 
system operates for 100 hours before it needs replacing, and 
unfortunately, it isn't rechargeable. 

YourseMFitness Hits The PS2 

Forget all of those kids fighting fat by gyrating to the tunes of Dance Dance Revolution. The 
rest of us can now use our consoles to get fit with responDESIGN's YourselflFitness ($34.99; Released last October for the Xbox and PC, this personal-trainer- 
in-a-box is now available to the millions of PlayStation 2 owners out there. Load it up and 
Maya, the virtual trainer, walks you through a health assessment and tailors exercises to 
your fitness level and overall health goals. You don't need any extra equipment if you want 
to do the aerobics routines, but you can use instructions for hand weights, step, and other 
exercises if you have them and want to take it to the next level. When you get sick of 
sweating it out, there's even a complete yoga routine to help you wind down. 

Sounds Great, But Where Are The Speakers? 

No home theater is complete without a surround-sound system, but who wants those unsightly speakers and wires messing up the 
look of your otherwise perfect living room? Onkyo's tasteful CB-SP1200 ($600; integrates 40-watt front left, 
center, and right speakers into a sleek and functional TV stand. The left and right speakers each have separate woofers (low- and 
mid-range audio speakers) and tweeters (high-range audio speakers) for more accurate sound output across a variety of frequencies. 

Most surround-sound tracks concentrate most of the sound— in- 
cluding all-important dialogue— into the front-center speaker, and 
the one incorporated into this stand has a tweeter surrounded by 
two woofers to handle all of that sound. 

The speakers are covered by a black grille designed to blend into the 
surrounding wood, which is hand-rubbed with seven coats of black 
lacquer. The stand supports up to 250 pounds and is 17 inches high 
x 47 inches wide x 17-3/4 inches deep to accommodate a variety of 
TVs. The speaker jacks are on the back of the stand so you can con- 
nect the speakers without crawling around on the floor behind an 
entertainment center. All of the speakers are magnetically 
shielded, so they won't interfere with TVs. You may remember 
when speakers interfered with CRTs (cathode-ray tubes) and 
the picture became distorted from the magnetic field. 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 13 

open ce 



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Market research firm Gartner claims that total mobile phone sales climbed 30% in 
2004 compared to 2005, with more than 674 million cell phones flying off the 
shelves worldwide. Nokia is still the No. 1 manufacturer by a long shot, com- 
manding more market share than No. 2 Motorola and No. 3 Samsung combined. 
Gartner predicts that more than 730 million cell phones will be sold in 2005. 

Worldwide Mobile Terminal Sales 
To End-Users In 2004 


2004 Sales 

2004 Market 
Share (%) 

2003 Sales 

2003 Market 
Share (%) 

































Sony Ericsson 



















Note* This table includes iDEN, but excludes ODM to OEM shipments. 

Home Video Is Big Business 

VHS and DVD prices may seem to be falling, but the studios are still raking in more 
in sales and rentals of VHS and DVD movies than they're making at the box office, 
according to the Video Software Dealers Association. Here are highlights of its 
2004 annual report: 


sales rose 


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a 40% increase compared to 2002. 

Of that we spent $14 billion buying movies 

TOTAL, and $8.2 renting them. 

(/) accounted 
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of all rentals. 


were illegally 
day in 

The brands 

for DVD players, according to sales 
figures, are Cyberhome, Sony, 
Apex, Memorex, and Koss, 
in that order. 

Source: The MPD Group/NPD Techworld 

announced on 
March 2, 2005, that customers 
had downloaded more than 300 
million tracks from its iTunes 
digital music store. 

Source: Apple 

announced its 82-inch LCD 
HDTV— the largest so far. 

Source: Samsung 

On April 2, 2005, XM Radio raised 
its monthly subscription rate from 
$9.99 to $12.95. 

Source: XM Radio 

MiCrOSOft has recalled 

more than 14 million potentially 
faulty Xbox power cords. Visit 
for more information. 

Source: Microsoft 

73.40/0 of >DA users 

have a Palm-brand device, 
followed by HP with 21.3% of 
the market share. 

Source: The MPD Group/NPD Techworld 

When given a choice between a 
normal music CD and a "copy- 
once" CD priced $5 less, 33% of 
those who do not rip CDs and 27% 
who rip CDs preferred the copy- 
once CDs. 
Source: Parks Associates 

14 May 2005 / 

Denon's philosophy is simple. 






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Introducing Denon's New AVR-5805 

The World's First 10-channel A/V Receiver With Fully Configurable 4-zone Capabilities 

A Breakthrough In Multi-source, Multi-zone Flexibility 

For the home entertainment enthusiast and custom installer alike, Denon's new AVR-5805 delivers unprecedented four-zone home 
entertainment integration and control — all from a single component. With 10 configurable and discrete amplifiers, 16-channels of 
audio output, and the world's first-ever ability to drive two fully independent 5.1 systems, the AVR-5805 will also route audio and video 
signals from up to four independent sources and distribute them to up to four separate zones throughout the home. Its advanced 
capabilities even allow discrete power, source selection and volume control of each zone. And flexibility is just the beginning. Read on. 

Masterful Technologies And A "Sweet Spot" For Every Listener 

Behind the AVR-5805's newly designed, easy-to-read front panel display is a profusion of powerful technologies. An Equal Power 
amplifier section delivers a massive 170 watts of high-current power into each of its ten channels, processing for every popular 
7.1-, 6.1- and 5.1-channel surround sound format — from Dolby (including Pro Logic llx) and dts, to THX Ultra2 and THX Surround EX. 
The AVR-5805 also introduces the latest in Auto Setup Calibration and Equalization with the Audyssey MultEQ XT system, tailoring 
sound not only to the listening environment but also to the audience. This advanced technology analyzes and calibrates six critical 
settings including variable crossover point detection. It also determines the correct frequency response for up to six separate 
listener positions and then averages all six. The result? Literally a "sweet spot" for every listener in the room. 



• 9054754085 • 

This is innovation 

Advanced Video Conversion And Denon's Exclusive Circuitry 

The AVR-5805 offers a full complement of advanced processing capabilities like HDMI/DVI digital video selection, video up-scaling 
(including Faroudja DCDi technology for analog sources) and the world's first dual, independent video conversion for unmatched simplicity 
and the highest picture quality from all your video gear. For even greater A/V performance, it employs the most advanced Texas Instruments' 
and Analog Devices' 32-bit DSP processors, Burr-Brown 24-bit/l 92kHz audio DACs, as well as Denon's newly improved DDSC-D 
(Dynamic Discrete Surround Decoder-Digital). And to top it off, exclusive Advanced AL24 Processing Plus circuitry maximizes all source 
signals so that the high-resolution DA converters work at peak capacity. 

More Connection Options Than Any Receiver In The Industry 

In addition to an extensive complement of digital and analog A/V connections, the AVR-5805 includes a full array of "custom installation" 
features: assignable high amperage DC trigger outputs, dual RS-232C ports to facilitate integrated system and PC connectivity, and a 
built-in Ethernet port that adds more system control as well as future updates and upgrades. In-demand connection options include 
6 high-bandwidth (100 MHz,) HDTV-compatible component video inputs, HD switching for 2 zones and much more. Finally, the latest 
version of Denon Link 3 and dual IEEE-1394 inputs allow for reception of high-resolution, multi-channel digital audio data directly from 
compatibly equipped DVD players. It all adds up to total flexibility and the ultimate level of sonic performance. Denon does it again. 

The First Name in Digital Audio 





18 May 2005 / celifesty 

As the weather 
warms up, our 
thoughts turn to 
favorite activi- 
ties. And most 
of them involve 
around. Here 
are some hot 
new products 
that you'll be 
happy to take 
with you, 
helping you 
play or work on 
the go. 

The Princeton 
Review Pocket Prep 
Handheld For The New SAT 


Franklin (the planner people) and Princeton Review have put together a handheld 
prep product specifically for the child in your life who's cramming for the SAT. The 
device features tutorials, practice exams, drill cards, and personal diagnostic reports. 
Tutorials and other verbal tools are specifically designed to help students prepare for 
the new essay, as well. Bring on the college recruiters. 

Garmin C330 GPS Guide 


You don't need a built-in auto navigation system to get around. Garmin's ultra- 
portable and cute-as-a-button C330 will do nicely. Weighing just half a pound, the 
unit mounts easily in your car. It's preloaded with U.S. maps and attractions, so you 
can get from point A to point B with time to spare. 



) ooo v 



Add satellite radio to your car or home— with just one device. Sanyo's 
diminutive receiver pulls in satellite radio and broadcasts with an FM 
transmitter (just tune in from any radio nearby). The package in- 
eludes car and home docks, two antennas, and two power adapters. 
One feature we're particularly fond of is the Favorites tool; it notifies 
you when a particular artist or song is on any SIRIUS channel. 

Philips (& Nike) MP3RUN 


Designed for runners, the new 256MB MP3RUN combines music 
playback with audio feedback on distance, speed, and time. Wireless 
sensors track your performance while you listen to MP3s, WMA 
(Windows Media Audio) files, or FM radio. 


Olympus C-5500 Sports 
Zoom Digital Camera 


Don't miss another great soccer shot. Olympus' C- 
5500 has a 5X optical zoom for close-ups of your 
daughter's throw in, a less-than-one-second 
startup so you're not messing around when the 
game starts, and a 2.7fps (frames per second) 
burst mode to catch every part of every goal. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 19 

With Control4, you can finally stop using "home automation" and *when 
I win the lottery" in the same sentence. That's because we offer a more 
practical approach for automating and simplifying all the different technology 
in your home— from lighting, temperature, and security systems to 
sophisticated home theater centers. Every ControK solution is easy to install 
in new or existing homes, a pleasure to use, and surprisingly affordable. 
So visit our Web site to find an authorized Control4 dealer near you. 
And discover exactly how easy and inexpensive home automation can be. • 1-888-400-4070 

Control @> 


Sharp 56DR650 56" DLP HDTV 


When it's time to slow down and kick back, you won't 
find an LCD or plasma TV this big with a price this small. 
And you won't find a regular TV this light and this thin. 
Sharp's DLP nicely splits the difference in price and size 
between tube and flat-screen technology with sharp, rich, 
high-definition video. 

Sennheiser PXC300 


Drown out engine whine and screaming children with Sennheiser's new 
noise-canceling headphones. Special technology cancels ambient noise, 
while delivering crisp, clear audio from your source. The pair folds into a 
small carrying case for easy packing. Plug adapters fit jacks for portable 
devices, airplanes, and in-home stereo components. 

BenQ P50 PDA Phone 


BenQ's new P50 runs Pocket PC, compatible with Office applica- 
tions, email, and Web browsing. It connects via GSM (Global 
System for Mobile Communications) mobile networks, Bluetooth, 
or Wi-Fi. It also has a 1.3MP (megapixel) camera, MP3 player, and 
full keyboard. How heavy does your notebook computer feel now? 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 21 



Accessories With Style 

April showers bring May accessories. 


Anna Sui Mobile by Samsung 

$299 (with T-Mobile Service Plan) 

You may be tired of showing up at meetings 
wearing the same cell phone as everyone else. 
If so, grab a little cellular couture with this 
limited-edition Samsung e31 5 clamshell phone 
designed by international fashion superstar 
Anna Sui. It features Sui's trademark purple 
color palate, a charm, and exclusive 
screensavers and comes with every- 
thing from a custom carrying case 
to Anna Sui signature "Rouge 
S" lip gloss. 

Mobile Edge Red Full-Grain 
Leather Briefcase 

$279.99 • 

Make a sophisticated style statement with red 

leather. This full-grain leather briefcase from 

Mobile Edge features a poly-suede lined 

interior, SafetyCell computer protection 

compartment, EZ-Access pockets for your cell 

phone and plane tickets, and a removable 

pouch for cosmetics and accessories. 

Sling Media Slingbox Personal Broadcaster 

$249 • 

Now here's a laptop accessory. The Slingbox Personal Broadcaster beams live TV or 
recorded video from your home cable box, satellite receiver, TiVo, or similar device to 
your notebook in any room in the house ... or to any Wi-Fi hotspot out in the world. 
Stuck in the airport? Thinking about grabbing an afternoon coffee at the Starbucks 
across the street from your hotel? No need to miss "Ellen." 

GE GlamCam 

$99.99 • 

This little number won the 2005 International 
CES "Technology Is A Girl's Best Friend" 
Diamond Product Showcase award in the 
digital imaging category. Can you blame it? 
Resembling a stylish flip-phone in design, this 
1.3MP (megapixel) camera features 8MB of 
onboard memory, an integrated rechargable 
Li-Ion (lithium-ion) battery, a color LCD, and 
a compact mirror. Powder not included. 

22 May 2005 / 

Building a Home? 

We can make it do more. 

It's about a better life. 
Enjoy audio, video and control — in every room! 

See the Nursery, Yard and Door From TVs and VIA! Panels. 

Enjoy Entertainment and Communications in Every Room. 

Select a System Designed to Suit Your Life and Home. 

Choose Individual Interfaces to Match Your Decor. 

Adjust Temperature and Lights From Anywhere. 

Stream Digital Music Into Any Room. 

And More. 

Choose your counter tops. Pick top grade cabinets and fix- 
tures. Select music, movies, and news — with one touch on a 
touch panel from anywhere in the house? Yes! Investing in 
your home just took on a whole new dimension. 

We offer a seamless approach to simplifying your electronics. 
Just as an architect designs your living spaces, an ELAN Dealer 
can design a personalized system, allowing you to make the 
most of your home. 

Whether you're building new or remodeling, now's the best And, with multi-room audio and video, the wires are neatly 

time to include all the things that will save time, and make life tucked away behind the walls, just as your phone and electrical 

more enjoyable. wires are. 

From one touch access to your entertainment, to controlling It's not about the electronics - it's about a better life. It's one 

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24 May 2005 / 

Aesthetics Of Audio 

Virtual Surround Sound 

nless you're a teenager, the days of regularly going 
to the movies are fading. People just don't seem to 
have the time or the energy to get out of the house 
as much as they used to. Most would rather sink 
into their favorite chair, line up their beverages and 
snacks of choice, and relax in privacy in front of 
their home entertainment centers. This shift has 
gone hand in hand with the advent of regular 
movie broadcasting on TV, special movies-only 
channels available through satellite or cable, and 
readily available selection of DVDs for rent. 

If you have recently bought a new TV, chances are you upgraded to 
one with a bigger screen. Combine that with the relatively short 
viewing distance of the average living room, and you're getting close 
to the cinema experience — at least visually. But what about sound? 
Because vision is a primary sense for most of us, it may come as a bit 
of a surprise that the audible portion of the movie experience is as 
important, if not more important, than the size or quality of your TV's 
display. A small television with a great sound system can actually pro- 
duce a more involving experience than a large display with so-so 
sound. If you find that your home viewing just doesn't have the same 
emotional "oomph" as the cinema experience, the difference in sound 
quality may be the reason. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 25 

Do Speakers 

Everyone seems to have an 
opinion about which audio 
component matters the most. The 
reality is that in a sound system, 
everything matters. The various 
elements of a system are like links 
in a chain; one weak link will 
weaken the whole chain. Speakers 
are a very important link in the 
chain because each type and 
model can impose a distinct sonic 
signature. For effective sound 
from multichannel surround 
sound, it is particularly important 
that all the speakers have a similar 
sonic character. This usually 
means they must be either iden- 
tical or designed as part of a sur- 
round ensemble. In most VSS 
systems, the speakers come with 
the system and are designed to 
work well together. 

Which do you prefer for your room? A multispeaker system with wires 
connecting to each speaker around your room . . . 

Fooling The Brain 

What if you could have the enveloping 
sonic effect of a sophisticated multi- 
speaker system without all the wires and 
speakers? Some clever designers have 
found a way to do just that. As it turns 
out, the sounds we hear contain tiny 
echoes, timing delays, and frequency 
shifts caused by your head and body 
and the fold of your ear blocking sounds. 
The small difference in time between 
the arrival of a sound in one ear and its 
arrival at the other is also important. The 
brain uses these cues to determine 
where sounds are coming from in a 
process called localization. 

The localization process, which occurs 
in the brain, is completely unconscious 
and so fast that your brain "knows" 
where a sound is coming from almost 

instantly. Through research, engineers 
have found a way to make sounds ema- 
nating from a speaker in front of you 
seem to come from beside or behind 
you. The result is VSS (virtual surround 
sound) technology, the illusion of sur- 
round sound without all the speakers. 

Typical Surround Sound 

Before we get into how VSS creates 
what seems like a surround-sound en- 
vironment, we must understand the 
sound system on which it is based. 
Cinemas typically have powerful sound 
systems with dozens of high-quality 
speakers in front of, beside, and behind 
the audience to create a surround effect. 
Many home viewers have gone to great 
lengths to capture the emotional con- 
tent of the movie experience by equip- 
ping their viewing rooms with similarly 

elaborate multichannel surround-sound 
systems. In most cases, the sound sys- 
tem not only costs more, but it is much 
more complicated to set up than the 
television alone. Today's standard for 
home multichannel sound is a 5.1- 
channel surround-sound system — that 
is, five speakers (one center, two mains, 
two rear) and one subwoofer, each 
playing a separate audio track encoded 
within the DVD format. These audio 
tracks are specially mixed to contain di- 
rectional cues for sounds that move. 

A plane flying from right to left on your 
screen, for example, is accompanied by a 
corresponding sound that moves in the 
same direction through your room. A 
properly set up surround system of suf- 
ficient quality can make sounds appear 
to float or move in any direction within 
the 3D space of your room. Imagine the 

26 May 2005 / 


... or a system (such as the Soundmatters MAINstage, shown here) that takes up less 
space and still gives you a surround-sound effect when you watch your favorite movie? 

Making Multiple 
Speakers Look 

With a bit of effort, multispeaker 
systems can be tastefully inte- 
grated into your living room. Audio 
equipment goes through fashion 
trends, which frequently make it 
possible to accurately date a piece of 
gear from a given decade. (The cur- 
rent fashion is black or silver with fu- 
turistic touches.) You can minimize 
the visual effect of multiple speakers 
by purchasing light-colored models 
or by painting them the same color 
as your walls (but don't get paint on 
the speaker cones). In-wall speakers 
with grilles you can paint are nearly 
ideal aesthetically, but they require 
more effort to install. You can run 
wires through the basement or attic 
or via special paintable wire guides 
that run along the baseboards. 

excitement when a bullet is fired at 
your favorite action hero and you hear a 
whistling sound as if the projectile is 
whizzing past your ear. 

The other, more subtle trademark of sur- 
round sound is a sense that you are in the 
scene. When the characters on-screen are 
sitting in a sidewalk cafe, you feel sur- 
rounded by the same street noises they 
are experiencing. These environmental 
sounds create a sonic ambience that pro- 
vides a sense of personal involvement and 
suspends disbelief, both of which are crit- 
ical to a satisfying cinema experience. 

Explore Your Options 

Unfortunately, a multichannel sound 
system at home means six wires running 
to five speakers and the subwoofer. 
If you have spent years on the finishing 

touches of a tastefully designed living 
room, the last thing you want is wires 
and speakers hanging around the room. 
If you want convincing movie sound and 
a sleek, organized look to your room, 
you have several options to make this 
dream a reality. 

One-speaker systems. Some virtual sur- 
round systems produce credible sur- 
round sound from one speaker. The 
Niro 1.1 Pro II ($990; 
processes 5.1 channels using a built-in 
processor. The amplifier is about the 
same size as a smallish DVD player, and 
the single speaker sits unobtrusively 
above or below your TV. (Separate ac- 
cessories include a stand for the speaker 
or brackets to attach the speaker to the 
wall.) You can tuck the subwoofer into a 
corner, and all the wires can run behind 
your television. 

Listeners to the new Niro VSS systems say 
the effect is impressive, not to mention 
easy on the decor. The 1.1 Pro II is suitable 
for larger rooms (500 to 600 square feet), 
but Niro offers the Niro 600 ($749) for 
300 to 400 square foot rooms and the 
Niro 400 ($539) for rooms up to 200 
square feet. The Niro 400 works well with 
a PC or portable DVD player and fills a 
small room such as a typical office space. 

One more speaker. Those who don't 
mind one extra speaker (and a little more 
wire) can opt for two speakers instead of 
one. This VSS is a bit more effective, but 
speakers are still not visually intrusive. 
Niro offers a two-speaker system that 
processes state-of-the-art 6.1 VSS by ex- 
panding the surround effect to include 
sounds that would come from directly 
behind the listener. The Niro Two6.1 
($1,999) comes with a subwoofer and 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 27 

two speakers, with one positioned above 
or below the TV display and one directly 
behind the listener. For smaller rooms, 
you can try the Niro Two6.1-C ($1,499). 

Personal surround sound. Ever find 
yourself hankering for a late-night mov- 
ie, but you don't want to wake the en- 
tire household? Niro has come up with 
the MovieMouse ($229), a miniature 
VSS speaker pod that connects to your 
Niro system and sits in front of you to 
deliver surround sound at a low volume. 
You can leave the MovieMouse conve- 
niently plugged in and switch the sound 
to it via the remote control. 

Sound reflection. Samsung has a version 
of VSS that confines itself to the area 
near your TV. The Samsung HT-DS660 
($599.99) uses a subwoofer, one center 
channel, and two front speakers and in- 
cludes a DVD player. The rear speakers 
are virtual, produced by sound reflecting 

off the room's walls and 
ceiling to create 5.1 -channel 
sound. The speakers sit at 
the front of the room, so you 
can discretely tuck the wires 
away. This system's effect is 
more dependent on the re- 
flective properties of the 
room surfaces than are the 
Niro systems. For rear-reflec- 
tion to work, you need a 
hard and smooth back wall 
that isn't too far from the 
seating position and is par- 
allel to the front wall. A geo- 
metrically irregular room or 
room that has a large, open design won't 
work well with this technology. 

Ultra-compact surround sound. If you 

are looking for a more compact and 
lower-budget product that still produces 
VSS, Soundmatters MAINstage ($329) 
offers amplifiers, speakers, and a built-in 

Most DVDs 
can play thro 

come with 5.1 -channel soundtracks that you 
ugh a VSS or multispeaker system. 

Do I Need Surround Sound If My TV 
Already Has It? 

The short answer is yes. Most modern televisions have built-in stereo speakers, 
and a few models advertise built-in sub woofers or VSS capabilities. Though 
the sound production capabilities available on TVs have certainly improved 
over the years, the designers of these sets are still primarily concerned with the 
visual display and not the sound. As a result, the built-in sound on televisions 
usually falls short of what even a modest or medium-cost external sound system 
can achieve. 

Home Cinema In A Box 

The temptation to quickly and cheaply achieve great sound by purchasing a 
complete multichannel sound system in a box can be pretty strong. Keep in 
mind, however, that these systems vary considerably in quality. You can find 
plastic speakers with flimsy wires and poor fidelity amplification in some sys- 
tems. Bad sound is still bad sound, no matter how many speakers it comes 
from. If you are considering a home cinema in a box, test the sound quality in 
the store, if possible, and research your options thoroughly before you buy. 

subwoofer in a single unit with 80 watts 
of power. The unit sits on top of your TV, 
producing a surround illusion without 
additional speakers. 

Stereo connections. What if you already 
have a stereo with good-quality speakers 
arranged to either side of your TV? You 
may have found that you can run two 
channels of audio from your video source 
through your 2-channel stereo for better 
sound than the small speakers in your TV 
can provide. Unfortunately, this arrange- 
ment only gives you two of the 5.1 chan- 
nels available on DVD. 

SOUNDaround from Xitel ($99.95; lets you hear home the- 
ater sound through your two stereo 
speakers. You plug the multichannel dig- 
ital output from your DVD player or 
other source into SOUNDaround's single 
processor box. The unit takes the 5.1- 
channel information encoded in the 
audio signal and adds direction cues for 
the sound. That output is fed into your 
stereo through the regular left and right 
input jacks. Presto! You get room-filling 
surround sound with no extra speakers. 

Is Multichannel Surround 

If virtual surround sound is so great, you 
may be asking if this means the end of 

28 May 2005 / 

multichannel sound systems. Not likely — 
or at least, not yet. While the surround 
effect of VSS can be impressive consid- 
ering the small number of speakers, a 
high-quality multichannel system with 
six or more speakers arranged correctly 
is still hard to beat. The illusion that a 
sound is coming from behind you won't 
be as convincing to your ears as a sound 
that really is coming from behind you. 

The main bottlenecks for VSS are the fi- 
delity of the processing and the problem 
of getting the same volume and dynamic 
range out of one or two speakers as you 
might get from five or six. Also, if all your 
speakers are at the front of the room, 
then sounds that are supposed to come 
from the back of the room will be less 
convincing. Because of the processing in- 
volved, some VSS systems may also have 
short but noticeable delays. In addition, 
many consumers expect that a system 
with fewer speakers shouldn't cost much. 
The reality is that the cost to manufac- 
ture a good VSS system is as much or 
more than the cost to manufacture a 

This VSS speaker, as well as other Niro 400 
components, comes in orange, silver, gray, or 
indigo blue to fit the style of your room. 

multispeaker system, particularly when 
you consider the development costs. 

The Last Word 

The development of these VSS systems is 
a clear step forward for home theater. A 
surround purist, who enjoys running wires 
under baseboards and tweaking each 
channel for hours, may still prefer the real 
thing. However, those who rank form 
higher than function can use VSS to pre- 
serve their decor, save time and effort 
during setup, and get amazing results. H] 

by Ross Mantle 

Surround Sound 
For Music 

The sound effect that enhances the 
cinema experience can also en- 
hance your favorite musical perfor- 
mances. But be warned: Enjoyable 
musical listening demands more 
from your sound system than the 
bangs and moving sound tricks that 
even inexpensive surround systems 
can muster. An obtrusive rumbling 
subwoofer that works fine in a 
movie, for example, can really wreck 
a nice jazz performance. If you plan 
on making your surround-sound 
system your main source for music 
as well as movies, then the most im- 
portant criteria should be musical 
fidelity. This feature includes im- 
portant elements that you should 
research as you shop, including re- 
fined high frequencies, tight bass, 
and good rendering of detail. 

Multispeaker vs. Virtual Surround Sound 


Virtual Surround Sound 


Available at all price points, including some Confined to low and midprice levels when 
systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars. compared to the wide price range of multi- 
speaker systems. Prices generally range from 
around $100 to around $2,000. 

Surround Effect 

Good to excellent, depending on system quality, 
room properties, and setup. 5.1 is standard; 7.1 
is also available. 

Effect can be impressive but diminishes at 
the point farthest from the speaker(s). Best 
systems render 5.1; lower-cost versions may 
only handle 3.1. 


Generally poor. Multiple speakers can be 
integrated into the decor, but effort is required. 

Much easier to add to a room without 
compromising decor. 

Setup & Calibration 

Quite complicated and time-consuming. 
Enthusiasts are constantly fiddling with the settings. 

Much simpler to set up physically with 
fewer calibration settings. 


Typically have inputs for multiple sources: 
DVD, CD, cable, TV, radio, etc. 

Also capable of multisourcing but may 
have fewer inputs. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 29 

Do It 
All Over The House, 

No smoke, no mirrors - just 100% digital technology only from ZON. 'Tor sheer 

wow factor, ZON is the winner" according to Sound & Vision (January 2005). "... the 

sound quality was excellent, and being able to handle digital signals from your 

sources puts ZON in a class by itself" Also unique 

to ZON are the easy to use Euro-styled ( — 

in-wall amplified controllers (providing 

60 Watts into 8 Ohms) and the ability to 

use the latest optical and coax digital 

audio components, and even old school 

analog audio (converted to digital by 

ZON), ZON elevates multi-room audio to 

new levels of perfection - it's like having 

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PC , >Jf^ 

Multimedia Car 

Hit The Road In Style 

pple Computer's portable 
MP3 player, the iPod, 
is great because it lets 
you take thousands of 
songs with you wher- 
ever you go without 
lugging around a 
suitcase of CDs. 
However, we've 
found that it's often difficult to enjoy the 
iPod in one of the places we listen to 
music most — the car. Most car stereos 

don't offer a good way to connect an 
iPod or any other MP3 player for that 
matter. The result is, you're left with ei- 
ther the inferior sound quality and messy 
wires of cassette-tape style adapters or 
isolated from your library of digital music. 
However, a few companies have started 
providing equipment to help your vehicle 
interface with the iPod. We'll run through 
what devices we've seen and highlight 
some other multimedia features that can 
make travel more enjoyable. 

Factory Installed Options 

Car manufacturers are eager to associate 
themselves with the iPod brand, and a 
handful have rolled out iPod compati- 
bility as an optional feature in some 2005 
models. Mercedes-Benz provides the 
most integration, displaying song titles 
and artists names on the radio's console 
display. Volvo, Nissan, Alfa-Romeo, and 
Ferrari all provide an audio link and let 
you skip through songs, but you don't 
have complete control of all the player's 
functions. BMW sells an iPod upgrade kit 
for installation at dealerships on some 
models 2002 and newer. After plugging 
your iPod into the cable installed in the 
glove box, you'll be able to hear songs on 
the stereo, control the volume as you 
would a CD, and even select songs to play 
using BMW's on-steering-wheel controls. 

Replace Your Stereo 

If you don't have your eye on a new car, 
you can still make your current wheels 
MP3-compatible by adding a new stereo. 
A few of the newer stereos support other 
impressive features, such as DVD play- 
back, surround sound, and touchscreens 
for GPS (global positioning system) satel- 
lite navigation mapping. Replacing a car 
stereo can be a complicated task, so un- 
less you're adventurous, you should con- 
sider having a professional do the 
installation. Most electronics stores that 
sell car stereos will be able to direct you 
to a good installer or do the work them- 
selves. Talking to an installer may also give 
you ideas about product features you'd 
like that you didn't even know existed. 

The Clarion VRX755VD ($1,599.99; is a good example of 
an iPod-compatible car stereo with so 
many features you might forget about 
your iPod altogether. Although it looks 
like a car stereo and fits into the usual 
dashboard slot, at the touch of the 
button, a motorized panel extends from 
the front of the unit and pops up, re- 
vealing a 7-inch color LCD touchscreen. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 31 

Our Favorite Multimedia Cars 

Most new cars today come with the option to upgrade 
the audio and video in the cabin. But there are a few 
dream machines that give new meaning to portable enter- 
tainment. Here are our favorites. 

2005 Volvo S80 T6 Premiere 
(Starts at $49,150) 

This model's RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment) system in- 
cludes a CD/DVD player, viewing screens on the back of 
both headrests, and 68-channel color TV with game ports. 

2005 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV 
(Starts at $38,670) 

All 2005 M-Class SUVs (and many other 2005 models, 
as well) can be upgraded with the iPod Integration Kit, 
where you can use your steering-wheel controls to skip 
through your iPod playlist and view the tracks and artists 
in the in-dash display. 

2005 BMW 545i Sedan — 
(Starts at $55,800) 

The coolest feature on this model is the Heads-Up 
Display, a virtual monitor that shows on your windshield 
and allows you to keep your eyes up and forward. Other 
features include Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free 
voice activation. 

You can use the screen to control your 
iPod, which is attached to the con- 
necting cable and stowed away in the 
glove compartment, or to view DVDs. 

Clarion's unit can also send its video to a 
second screen, perhaps one mounted for 
backseat viewers, and can control op- 
tional CD and DVD changers, a Sirius 
satellite ratio receiver, and even a TV 
tuner via the proprietary CeNET bus 
system. Perhaps the unit's most ingenious 
feature is two-zone operation, which lets 
a parent listen to one song in the front 
seat while kids in the back listen to an- 
other. The remote control allows even 
rear seat passengers unprecedented mis- 
chief-making potential, so you may want 
to keep it in the front. 

Upgrades Abound 

Unless you're eager to watch DVDs in the 
car, spending hundreds of dollars for a 
touchscreen seems steep. If you're happy 
with your car stereo, it's possible to 
simply get an upgrade. Pioneer released 

its CD-IB100 iPod adaptor, which uses the 
company's proprietary IP-Bus system 
($140; to 
communicate with its stereos. If your 
stereo is one of the 3 million or so Pioneer 
units sold in the last few years, chances 
are it uses IP-Bus and will be compatible 
with the iPod adapter. If your Pioneer 
stereo isn't one of the newer models, you 
may not be able to use all the iPod's fea- 
tures. You'll still be able to charge the bat- 
tery, hear high-quality audio, and skip 
through tracks, but only new 2005 
models take advantage of the most so- 
phisticated features, such as the ability to 
search through your music library. 

Pioneer's AVH-P5700DVD ($1,200) is one 
of its new in-dash DVD players that's 
compatible with the iPod adapter. Like 
the Clarion unit, it has a motorized 
touch-sensitive screen and DVD movie 
playback, but by connecting optional 
components it can also serve as a GPS 
navigation device. The GPS component 
displays your current position on a street 
map and guides you to a destination 

with turn-by-turn directions, making 
getting lost virtually impossible. 

If you're going for something that's useful, 
cost-efficient, and easy to install, check 
out the iTrip ($35; www.griffintechnology 
.com), which is an FM transmitter that 
you can plug right into your iPod's head- 
phone jacks. You get your choice of fre- 
quencies, which is nice when you're on 
the road and between channels. Though 
it doesn't have any fancy interface like 
Pioneer's system, the iTrip is notably 
portable; you can take it inside and use it 
with a radio in your home, as well. 

It's almost certain that the next few 
years will bring easier and better car 
stereo connectivity for the iPod and de- 
vices like it, and DVD players have their 
place, too. Because drivers can't enjoy 
movies while they're driving, the tech- 
nology is most useful for passengers, es- 
pecially kids, on long trips. We're 
keeping our eyes on the road ahead. 3=3 

by Joseph Bell 

32 May 2005 / 

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Buff Up Those Buds 

Portable music players often come with tiny ear 
buds that lack bass. To compensate, boost the 
bass control a little to get a fuller sound. At the 
same time, certain songs (especially newer rock, 
techno, and electronic music) have a full and 
powerful low-end mixed into the music. This 
means that the bass guitar, kick drum, or deep 
synthesizer sounds are already turned up in 
order to give the track a lot of bass. Playing this 
music over your personal stereo with the bass 
control boosted may make the sound harsh 
and distorted. If you increase the bass, adjust 
carefully so as not to overload the ear buds. 

It All Hangs In The 

Sometimes, it makes more sense to adjust both 
the bass and the treble simultaneously. Let's say 
you're listening to a song, and it sounds a little 
muffled. Your first impulse might be to increase 
the treble. However, it's possible that the reason 
the system sounds muffled is because the bass is 
overly full. This can make it sound as though 
the treble needs a boost, when, in fact, a mild 
cut to the bass response can bring the rest of 
the sound into focus. 

Less Is More 

Any changes you do make should, in nearly all 
cases, be mild. The adjustments have a range 
in order to cover extreme situations (such as a 
badly recorded live concert, a band demo, or an 
overly screechy rock singer). Most of the time, 
though, the less you adjust, the better the 
sound. If you find that you have to boost the 
bass all the way up to get a pleasing result with 
all of your music, something else in the system 
might need adjustment. Are the speakers too 
far away from a wall? Move them closer, and 
you'll get increased bass response without over- 
taxing the amplifier. Is the sound too bright, 
and does it echo too much? Take a look at the 
room. If it's all hard surfaces and wood floors, 
see if you can introduce a throw rug or curtains 
somewhere, which will help dampen the sound 
and even out the treble. 

Like Nails On A 

Dealing with harsh treble is more difficult on 
just about any system. The problem is that the 
treble control adjusts a fairly wide range of 
sound, meaning that you're going to boost or 
cut too much music content at once. Drum kit 
cymbals, for example, inhabit higher frequencies 
than, say, the "sss" and "p" sounds on a vocal. If 
you cut the treble, you're affecting all of them at 
once. You might fix the nasty cymbals, but now 
Anthony Kiedis sounds like he's singing into a 
towel. Still, a mild cut or boost can help deal 
with muffled or overly tinny sounding music. 

Easy On The 
Explosions, Tex 

Home theater systems, on the other hand, often 
have the exact opposite problem. Many of 
these systems come with bass modules or pow- 
ered subwoofers, along with five smaller satellite 
speakers. The subwoofer is often set way too 
loud from the factory in order to impress cus- 
tomers in the store. This might sound good for 
some movies, but it makes everything else 
sound boomy. Placing the subwoofer module 
near a wall or corner makes it worse, which is 
usually what most people do in order to blend 
the system with their decor. If your subwoofer 
has a separate level control independent of the 
bass and treble controls, try turning it down. In 
fact, don't be afraid to make it almost zero. 

by Jamie Lendino 

34 May 2005 / 

ecorder with TiVo® service. 


The HUMAX DVD Recorder makes it easy to control television and create DVDs. That's because the same great TiVo" 
service that lets you find and store your favorite programs, guides you through the process of burning a DVD. 
And don't worry about shelf space. This little box takes the place of three components. It's an 80-hour TiVo Series2™ 
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Contact HUMAX at 866-486-2987 or 


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© 2004 HUMAX Company, Ltd. All rights reserved. "Easy Digital" is a registered trademark of HUMAX Company, Ltd. TiVo and the TiVo logo are registered 
trademarks of TiVo Inc. Series2 is a trademark of TiVo Inc. TiVo service is required and sold separately. No functionality is represented or should be 
expected without a paid subscription to the TiVo service. Pricing, terms and conditions subject to change. Receipt of TiVo service is subject to the terms 
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36 May 2005 / 



Portable DVD Players 

Are we there yet? ' 

People would pay just about anything to never hear those words again, and 
thanks to the current crop of portable DVD players, getting that wish granted is 
cheaper than ever. These portable devices, which usually resemble notebook 
PCs but lack keyboards and are designed solely for playing DVDs, are available in 
a variety of shapes and sizes and at a variety of price points. Knowing what to 
look for and what advantages these devices can provide is essential if you want 
to catch some flicks during your next road trip. 

Portable DVD Pros & Cons 

Portable DVD players have two main advantages compared to other tech- 
nologies — size and price. Most of these devices are small and thin enough to 
slip into a carry-on or briefcase, and they're light enough that you won't mind 
carrying them around. You may also play movies on DVD drives in notebook 
PCs, but notebooks weigh more that portable DVD players and require more 
battery power, and their screens are designed for 
computer work, not for movie viewing. Portable 
DVD players are also much cheaper than notebooks 
or hard drive-based players, although models with 
many advanced features and large screens cost 
nearly as much as a decent notebook PC. Samsung's 
DVD-L1200 ($999.99;, for ex- 
ample, has a relatively enormous 12-inch screen and 
measures only about 1 inch thick when closed, but 
it'll set you back nearly $1,000. 

Portable DVD 
players have two 
main advantages 

Unfortunately, portable DVD players have several 
limitations. Perhaps the biggest potential drawback 
inherent to a portable DVD player is the LCD tech- 
nology used to make the screens. The quality of 
these displays has improved dramatically over the 
years, but it still varies wildly from player to player. 

compared to other 
size and price. 

CELifestyles / May 2005 37 

Get Creative 

Portable DVD players are good 
for far more than road trips. 
Here are five unusual ways you can 
get the most from your player. 

• Cheer up a sick friend. 

Watching TV at the hospital 
stinks. If you have a friend or 
loved one who's in for an ex- 
tended stay, let her borrow your 
player and bring her new rental 
movies each time you visit. 

• Bring Hollywood to the B&B. 

Going to a bed & breakfast is 
a great way to get away from 
it all because most don't have 
phones or TVs in the room, 
but nothing sets the mood like 
a romantic movie. 

• Add a helper to the kitchen. If 

your portable DVD player can 
handle recordable DVDs, dump 
your favorite cooking shows to 
a disc and let them guide you 
as you cook. 

• Learn a foreign language. There 
are plenty of good foreign lan- 
guage instructional videos out 
there, but watching them at 
home is a chore. Pop them 

in the portable and turn a 
dull commute into a learning 

• Home movies away from home. 

Recording home movies to 
DVD is great, but many people 
have DVD players that can't 
read the discs. If your portable 
player can play recorded DVDs, 
hook it up to other people's TVs 
when you visit them and share 
your memories. 

If you see a huge price difference be- 
tween two units that have seemingly 
identical specifications; most of the 
time the cheaper one has a vastly infe- 
rior screen. Cheap LCDs render fewer 
colors than more expensive models 
and also have poor contrast, meaning 
whites look bright gray and blacks look 
dark gray instead of being pure white 
or pure black. 

While the color and contrast problems 
are bad enough, cheap LCDs generally 
have poor response rates, as well. The re- 
sponse rate tells you how quickly the 
screen reacts when video images shift and 
is measured in milliseconds with lower 
numbers corresponding to faster reaction 
times and better video quality. Screens 
with slow response rates (20 milliseconds 
or higher, depending on other factors) 
leave ghost images on the screen when- 
ever there's a lot of on-screen action, 
making video look streaky. Manufacturers 
rarely list response-rate times for their 
products, so take a few action movies to 
the store and play them on DVD players 
you are considering to see if they can 
handle all of the on-screen movement. 

Portability vs. usability poses tremen- 
dous issues for designers of these de- 
vices. On the one hand, customers want 
a portable DVD player to be as small as 
possible for easy transport, but they also 
want large screens so they can see more 
detailed video. The need to play rela- 
tively large DVDs and hold inside all of 
the equipment that spins them also 
means that portable DVD players will 
never be as small as some of the devices 
discussed in the "Mobile Video Alter- 
natives" sidebar. DVD drives also rely on 
a lot of delicate moving parts, making 
them fragile, which is something you 
definitely don't want with a product 
that you'll be toting around and letting 
your kids use. 

Small form factors leave little room for 
speakers, and the internal sound we've 

Portability vs. 
usability poses 
issues for 
designers of 
these devices. 

heard from portable DVD players we've 
auditioned is universally tinny, shrill at 
high volume levels, and lacking in bass 
response. The cure is a good set of head- 
phones, so factor that into the price be- 
cause the headphones that come with 
most portable DVD players are of mar- 
ginal quality. 

Battery life, or lack thereof, is another 
major issue with these devices. LCDs 
use backlights and transistors that re- 
quire a lot of power, and because the 
DVD spins constantly when a movie's 
playing, the DVD drive sucks up a lot of 
juice. Good players can operate for 
three to four hours before requiring a 
recharge, and some models, such as 
Panasonic's DVD-LS55 ($499.95; www, claim a battery life of 
10 hours. Real-world performance 
varies so never expect to watch more 
than one or two two-hour movies un- 
less you've connected the player to an 
external power source. Turning down 
the volume can help conserve battery 
life, especially if you use the player's in- 
tegrated speakers, but the best way to 
squeeze a few more minutes from your 
player is to turn down the brightness of 
the screen. 

38 May 2005 / 

What To Watch For 

If you decide the benefits of a portable 
DVD player outweigh its disadvantages, 
there are several features to consider 
when comparing competing models. 

Form factors and design elements. 

Most portable DVD players use a 
clamshell design where the LCD forms 
a lid that folds down on the base; it's 
similar to a notebook PC. Clamshell 
models are easy to carry and are rela- 
tively rugged because the screen is 
protected when the unit is closed. 
When open, their relatively large bases 
make it easy to balance the device on 
your lap or set on an airplane's seat 
tray. Because the screen is on a hinge, 

positioning it so you view it at the best 
angle is a snap. 

Some models, such as Panasonic's DVD- 
LX8 ($699.99; take 
this a step further by letting the screen 
pivot, as well as tilt, which is great for 
watching movies on a plane because 
you don't have to worry about the base 
of the player hanging off of the edge of 
the seat tray. 

Many portable DVD players protect the 
DVD drive with a plastic lid that pops 
up so you can insert or remove discs. 
That means you must open the DVD 
player to swap discs, which is sometimes 
awkward when you're listening to CDs 
instead of watching videos and want to 

Shopping Tips 

Player small enough to 
fit in car or sling 

Salespeople let you 
demo your own DVDs 

Plenty of accessories 

Note necessary A/V 
inputs and outputs 

Good battery life 

Accessory Alert 

Your backseat passengers may 
want to watch a movie 
without bothering you, the driver, 
but most portable players have 
only one headphone jack. Solve 
this problem by buying an inex- 
pensive Y-splitter that turns one 
headphone jack into two jacks. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 39 

Accessory Alert 

The popularity of portable DVD 
players has spawned an industry 
of related accessories, and most are 
actually useful. Some players have 
integrated batteries that you can't 
swap out for fully-charged spares, 
but for long car trips, for example, 
you'll likely prefer players that sup- 
port swappable batteries. (Just be 
aware that extra batteries are ex- 
pensive.) Look for players that 
come with their own car power 
plug adapters so you don't have to 
buy a separate adapter kit. Players 
with international AC power plug 
adapters are nice if you travel fre- 
quently, although you can find 
separate kits. 

If you want to 


your portable 

DVD player 

to a TV 

pay attention 

to its video 

output ports. 

put in a new disc. The alternative is a 
slot-loading drive, which pulls discs into 
a slot in the front or side of the unit. 
Slot-loading players are less popular be- 
cause they're fragile; the insertion and 
eject mechanism in these types of drives 
often fails if you drop the player because 
there are a lot of extra moving parts. 

Inputs & Outputs 

Most portable DVD players have a va- 
riety of input and output ports that let 
you use them in various ways. For ex- 
ample, portable DVD players with video 
outputs let you connect the player to a 
TV and use it as a standard DVD player, 
while units with optical digital outputs 
let you connect them to surround- 
sound stereo systems for vastly im- 
proved sound. An increasing number of 

portable DVD players have integrated 
FM transmitters that let them send 
audio to your car's FM radio so you can 
listen to movies over your car's speakers 
wirelessly by tuning to a specific FM 
channel. Some portable DVD players 
also have video input ports so you can 
connect them to other devices, such as 
camcorders or video game consoles, and 
use the LCD to display incoming video. 

If you want to connect your portable 
DVD player to a TV, pay attention to its 
video output ports. Cheaper units have 
only composite and S-Video outputs, 
which have relatively poor video quality 
but work well with older TVs that don't 
support newer connections. If your 
newer TV supports component video 
(or better yet progressive scan via com- 
ponent video), look for a portable DVD 

40 May 2005 / 

player that supports component video 
output. Not all portable DVD players 
support progressive-scan video, which 
reduces flickering on the screen and 
provides brighter and more detailed 
video output, but if your TV supports 
progressive-scan, buying a player that 
can output that signal will vastly im- 
prove the look of DVD movies. 

Most commercial DVDs have Dolby 
Digital or DTS surround-sound sound- 
tracks embedded in them that sound 
great when piped to a surround-sound 
speaker setup. Make sure you have the 
right hardware with your portable DVD 
player to take advantage of this im- 
proved audio. Extracting the surround- 
sound information requires a Dolby 
Digital or DTS decoder, and some 
portable DVD players have this extra 

hardware built in. Most, however, are 
designed to send the raw signal to a sur- 
round-sound receiver that has its own 
decoder. You'll need at least one de- 
coder in the chain, and you'll hear sur- 
round sound (assuming you enable the 
surround-sound track using the DVD's 
setup menu). 

Disc Compatibility 

The most basic portable DVD players 
handle only the commercial DVD movies 
you buy or rent, along with commercial 
audio CDs. An increasing number of 
players can also read other disc formats. 
Recordable CD and DVD formats are the 
most common, including CD-R (CD- 
recordable), CD-RW (CD-rewriteable), 
DVD-R (DVD-recordable), DVD-RW 
(DVD-rewriteable), DVD+R (another 
recordable DVD format), and DVD+RW 
(another rewriteable DVD format). If you 
have a camcorder, computer, or stand- 
alone recorder that records any of these 
discs, try to find a portable DVD player 
that'll play them. 

DVD Audio is a high-quality sound 
format that some portable DVD players 
support, but you won't be able to get 
the most out of these discs without 
connecting the player to a surround- 
sound system, particularly if you use 
your portable DVD player as your pri- 
mary DVD player. Many portable 
players can handle recorded CDs or 
DVDs that contain compressed digital 
music files, such as MP3 or MPA tracks, 
and many also display JPEG (Joint 
Photographic Experts Group) images 
recorded to a CD or DVD (such as those 
on Kodak Picture Discs). If you are one 
of the unfortunate souls who bought 
VCDs (Video CDs) when that failed 
format appeared, there are a few 
portable DVD players that can play 
VCD movies. S§ 

by Tracy Baker 

Accessory Alert 

If your portable DVD player 
doesn't have an FM transmitter 
and you want to listen to audio 
through your car's speakers, look 
for a cassette-tape adapter that con- 
nects to the portable player's head- 
phone or audio out jack and pipes 
sound to your car's cassette tape 
player. External FM transmitters 
also are available, but the sound 
generally isn't as good as that of a 
cassette-tape adapter. 

Accessory Alert 

To make your portable pull 
double-duty as a home DVD 
player, as well, look for a model 
that includes a remote control or 
supports one. Also consider units 
with docking cradles that remain 
permanently connected to the TV, 
while the portable DVD player 
easily disconnects from the cradle 
for travel. Panasonic's DVD-LX9, 
for example, has a docking cradle 
that helps justify the unit's 
$899.95 retail price. 

Accessory Alert 

When you want to use the 
portable player in a car, look 
for a unit that's compatible with a 
sling. A sling holds the player (and 
movies and accessories) and straps to 
the back of a car seat so viewers 
don't have to balance the unit on 
their laps. It's a must-have accessory 
for people with kids. Portable DVD 
players are already convenient, but 
with the right mix of accessories, 
you can tailor your player to meet 
your everyentertainment need. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 41 

DVD Players 

Find The Right Fit For Your Household 

42 May 2005 / 

ortable DVD players are 
quickly gaining momentum 
to join the ranks of "neces- 
sary" personal equipment along with 
cell phones, notebook computers, 
iPods, and gaming consoles. CD players 
are out, and portable DVD players are 
in. Why? These amazing little machines 
can do it all: play movies, games, and 
music; tune into local radio and televi- 
sion stations; and even double as ex- 
ternal storage devices when connected 
to a PC through a USB port. Most 
models feature CD-R/RW and DVD- 
R/RW capabilities, which means they are 
complete, all-in-one entertainment cen- 
ters that families and professionals can 
take on the road or transport with ease 
from home to school to the office. 

So, while traveling cross-country to the 
Grand Canyon this summer, gather 
'round the campfire with family and 
friends and plug your portable DVD 
player into your vehicle's cigarette 
lighter (or just use the rechargeable, 
long-life battery). Listen to your favorite 
CD while roasting weenies over the fire 
or squeeze in close, turn the swivel 
screen so everyone can see, and watch 
"The Incredibles." Tomorrow morning, 
mount the player on the back of the 
front seat's headrest and let the kids 
watch "Peter Pan" in the back. This en- 
tertainment tool can be a lifesaver on 
long trips and makes the miles go by 
much faster. It also minimizes the num- 
ber of times you have to hear the age- 
old, frequently asked question, "Are we 
there yet?" 

Compare Features 

Not only do kids want to watch movies 
in the car or in their bedrooms if their 
siblings are watching their favorite 
shows on TV in the living room, they 
also want to see a clear picture through 
the glaring sun and hear clear sounds 
over the hum of the highway. And they 
want to be comfortable if they have to 
share the screen or sound with a sister 
or friend. Manufacturers have dozens of 
features to make your experience with 
your portable DVD player as satisfying 
to you— and your kids— as it can be. 

Visuals. DVD player choices seem end- 
less, with myriad features for every situa- 
tion and each individual's specific needs. 
For example, the Adaptive Image Control 
in Samsung's DVD-L300 ($699.99; www lets you choose the most 
effective view for various lighting condi- 
tions. Some LCDs, such as the Panasonic 
DVD-LS50 ($399.99; 
.com), reduce glare— another useful fea- 
ture for kids traveling with the setting 
sun glaring through the car's back- 
seat windows. 

Other models offer adjustable screen 
brightness, a high-resolution display, 
widescreen and conventional or let- 
terbox formats, and screens that swivel 
up to 180 degrees for multiple viewing 
angles (such as Toshiba's SD-P2700 

Sound. Your player's internal sound 
system may offer weak audio, virtual 

These amazing 
little machines 
can do it all: 
play movies, 
games, and 
music; tune into 
local radio and 
television stations; 
and even double 
as external 
storage devices. 

CELifestyles / May 2005 43 

surround sound, or Dolby Digital. 
Audiovox's 8-inch D1810 ($529; www has Dolby Digital DTS, 
Q-Surround Sound with built-in stereo 
speakers; players with these features can 
double for stereo systems at parties, 
poolside, or at the beach. The sound 
quality is that good. 

Some portable DVD 
carrying cases let you 
hang your player 
from the back of the 
front seat's headrest 
so those in the back- 
seat can view the 
screen easily without 
having to hold 
the player. 

are adding 

features to their 
systems to remain 

competitive in 
the market. 

Extras. Manufacturers are adding fea- 
tures to their systems to remain com- 
petitive in the market. For example, if 
the adults want to listen to the in-car 
stereo, portable DVD players let you 
attach headphones, including those 
with a Y connector for shared listening. 
But, you have four children and you are 
afraid all those headphone cords are 
going to get tangled across two rows 
of seats and four little squirming bod- 
ies in the minivan? No problem. Many 
portable players have two headphone 
jacks, and many headphones today 
are wireless. 

Clarion recently released model 
VRX755VD ($1,599.99; www.clarion 
.com), an in -car DVD player that offers an 
integrated iPod interface. Using a touch- 
screen control pad, you can see your 
iPod's playlist, song, and artist informa- 
tion and play songs right from your iPod. 
Another unique feature of this player is 
the 2 Zone Entertainment system, which 
lets you view and/or listen to two sources 
simultaneously. This means that Mom 
can dial up Sirius Satellite Radio or listen 
to her favorite CD while the kids watch 
a movie in the backseat. (See "The Mul- 
timedia Car" on page 31 to learn more 
about the Clarion VRX755VD.) 

Some portable DVD players also have 
progressive scan video outputs for a 
high-quality picture, an integrated or op- 
tional TV tuner, A/V inputs and outputs 
including S-Video, built-in or recharge- 
able batteries, a wireless remote control, 
IR (infrared) wireless headphones, an FM 
transmitter, game ports, a joystick, built- 
in games, stereo speakers, or a cable- 
ready TV module. 

If you're worried about protecting your 
player and these valuable features, a 
multitude of heavy-duty cases are avail- 
able with tough sleeves; thick, protec- 
tive padding; weatherproof sealers to 
shield players from inclement condi- 
tions; adjustable cushioned dividers; and 

44 May 2005 / 

sturdy Koskin, nylon, leather, neoprene, 
and/or simulated leather exteriors. 
Check out the "Standalone Accessories" 
sidebar for some examples. 

Price. The list of portable players, fea- 
tures, and accessories goes on forever, 
and the costs reflect each system's 
quality and enhancements. Prices range 
from as low as around $80 to around 
$1,500. These are the extremes; most 
players fall into a price range somewhere 
between $125 and $500. Adding nu- 
merous accessories can, of course, inflate 
these initial costs, but don't worry, prices 
always come down — until the next new 
technology dawns on the horizon, and 
then the cycle starts all over. 

A Player For Active 

Most portable DVD players are du- 
rable, lightweight, and thin. GoVideo 
( has a sporty and 
super kid-friendly line of portable 
DVD players. 

GoVideo's Off-Road players, models 
DP6240, 7240, and 8240 (see the "Go- 
Video's Kid-Friendly Portable DVD 
Player Line" chart for pricing informa- 
tion), offer Anti-Shock Protection and 
Impact Shield Rubber Edges. The com- 
pany designed these Off-Road players 
for the "rigors of an active lifestyle." The 
other four models, the DP5040, 6040, 

Standalone Accessories 

A ccessories for portable 
#m DVD players are 

electricity, cigarette lighter 

on the back of the front 

durable nylon that trans- 

adapters for the car, cables 

seat headrest for children's 

forms from car theater to 

available in abundance, 

to transfer the picture on 

viewing. This carrying case 

carrying case to backpack 

and the list continues to 

your portable DVD player 

has a rigid frame but a 

in a matter of seconds. 

expand. Some portable 

to a larger screen, USB ca- 

padded interior to keep 

Kids can take this model 

DVD players include stan- 

bles for computer connec- 

your player (with up to a 

to summer camp, after- 

dard accessories such as 

tions, and connectors that 

7-inch display) safe while 

school daycare, sleepovers 

rechargeable batteries, 

plug into existing in-car 

you travel. 

with cousins and friends, 

adapters, remote controls, 

DVD systems. 

Targus Group Inter- 

or up the ladder to the tree 

and headphones, but other 

Other favorite acces- 

national has seven portable 

house. It has padded 

manufacturers (in order to 

sories include a TV tuner 

DVD cases to fit your ac- 

shoulder straps for back- 

offer their products at a 

for catching local broad- 

tive lifestyle and equip- 

packing comfort, a side- 

lower price) charge extra 

casts (especially the 

ment. Favorites include 

strap, briefcase handle 

for these items. 

weather while traveling), 

the Targus Mini Sport 

for hand carrying, safety 

Standalone accessories 

an FM transmitter for 


bumpers to protect your 

include credit card-sized 

playing audio files through 

a sporty, lightweight case 

player and DVDs, front 

remote controls, folding 

your car stereo, external 

made of neoprene for 

storage pockets to hold 

headphones with Y connec- 

speakers for entertaining 

players with up to 8.9-inch 

accessories, and a head- 

tors for dual or multiple 

bigger crowds at birthday 

screens and the Targus 

phone loop. 

listening, retractable ear- 

parties or other social 

Vehicle Travel Case 

If you shop around, 

phones, and extended-life 

gatherings, and an assort- 

($39.99), which is for 

you are sure to find a case 

batteries. Many manu- 

ment of durable DVD 

players with up to 1 0-inch 

that will be comfortable for 

facturers also include a 

player travel cases. 

screens and is made of 

you to carry and keep your 

number of cables and 


heavy-duty nylon with 

player safe throughout 

adapters for multiple in- 

Deluxe Carrying Case 

mesh pockets. Targus' ver- 

your travels. 

puts or outputs, such as 

($49.99; www.cyberhome 

satile Travel Backpack 

DC adapters for standard 

.com) hangs conveniently 

($29.99) is made of 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 45 


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7040, and 8440, are Entertainment On 
The Go systems and share some of 
the same components and features as 
the Off-Road players. They all have 
rechargeable batteries, various adapters 
including the cigarette lighter adapter, 
and headphone jacks, but no head- 
phones. And the DP7040 and 8440 have 
an optional 181-channel TV tuner that 
converts portable players into portable 
televisions. Very few of the other avail- 
able players boast, or even mention, 
their systems' strength and durability. 

Just For Kids 

One of the newest portable DVD inno- 
vations was designed just for kids — 
specifically, kids younger than 15. In 
January Samsung unveiled the new 
Hand Held Mini DVD Player, affection- 
ately nicknamed DVD Jr. It has a 2.5- 
inch LCD and supports popular formats 
such as JPEG (Joint Photographic Ex- 
perts Group), MP3, and 3-inch cam- 
corder and home recorded DVDs. 

Warner Home Video partnered with 
Samsung (and several other electronic 
manufacturers with similar devices) to 
offer a vast archive of Mini DVD movies 
and entertainment programs. These 

3-inch discs also work on standard DVD 
players that play 5-inch DVDs. So, in 
case parents want to watch some of 
their children's favorites, they can pur- 
chase the smaller media without fear 
that it will only run on their son's 
3.5-inch screen. Initial releases include 
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of 
Azkaban," the X-Men series, popular 
cartoons and animated films, and televi- 
sion specials. 

Samsung has an aggressive merchan- 
dising plan for their new baby, but 
many in the industry say aggressive or 
not, DVD Jr. will sweep the planet, just 
like video games did when they first 
came out. 

Accessories include a 2.5-hour NiMH 
(nickel-metal hydride) rechargeable bat- 
tery, a DC power jack, a headphone port 
(no headphones), and one free Warner 
Brothers title (with a mail-in offer for 
two more). The DVD Jr. is scheduled for 
release in April 2005 for $149.99. 

Similar to the DVD Jr., the Microtek 
FunView S350 ($199.99; www.micro has a 3.5-inch TFT LCD, a 
compact, lightweight design, and a fun 
circular shape with no sharp corners or 

One of the newest portable DVD 

innovations was designed just for 

kids— specifically, kids younger than 

15. In January Samsung unveiled the 

new Hand Held Mini DVD Player, 

affectionately nicknamed DVD Jr. 

Keep The Car 
Ride Quiet 

The JAVOeBuds retractable ear- 
phones ($18.95; www.javoedge 
.com) are the first earphones de- 
signed with a retractable mecha- 
nism, a small but lovely innovation 
for keeping cords organized. These 
lightweight, comfortable, but 
durable earphones are travel- 
friendly for adults but not rec- 
ommended for kids. They are 
available in two sizes, 2.5mm and 
3.5mm, and they are compatible 
with all audio devices including 
notebook computers and the iPod. 
Shure's E Series earphones ($99 
to $499; use flex 
or foam sleeves to block back- 
ground noise and produce studio- 
quality sound. And because ears 
come in different shapes and sizes, 
Shure offers three pairs (small, 
medium, and large) of disposable 
foam and disposable flex sleeves for 
a comfortable, custom fit. Each 
pair weighs about an ounce, and 
each set includes a zippered car- 
rying case with a spool to keep your 
earphones from getting tangled. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 47 

Features At 
A Glance 

Here are some features you 
may want to look for when 
you shop for your ideal portable 
DVD player. 

Sturdy, rugged body 

Easily portable for entertain- 
ment on the go 

Dual, retractable earphones 
for shared listening 

Cigarette lighter adapter for 
continuous recharging 

Extended-life batteries 

TV tuner 

5- to 12-inch swivel screens 

i Pod-compatible 




GoVideo's Kid-Friendly Portable DVD Player Line 


Size & Format 



5 -inch standard LCD 



6.2-inch widescreen LCD 



6.2-inch widescreen LCD 



7-inch widescreen LCD 



7-inch widescreen LCD 



8.4-inch widescreen LCD 



8.4-inch widescreen LCD 


edges. And to make the player ideal for 
kids to use, Microtek included a port for 
headphones and a built-in stand for 
hands-free viewing. 

The only downfall with these systems 
is the lack of physical durability that 
a kid's player needs. Although cute 
and certainly a comfortable size, the 
Microtek FunView S350 and even 
Samsung's DVD Jr. should have hard 
shells, tough skin, and a simple GUI 
(graphical user interface). These two 
products' designs cannot compare to 
GoVideo's rugged, kid-friendly, active- 
lifestyle product line. 

A Focus On Family 

Times change, and in the electronics 
world, they are changing faster than ever. 
Most kids learn to type and play video 
games much earlier in life than they did 
even 10 years ago. And as you can see, 
some devices (including portable DVD 
players) aren't just for adults anymore. 
As the consumer electronics industry 
continues to evolve, manufacturers will 
undoubtedly continue to focus on devel- 
oping electronics that work well for your 
growing family. SH 

by Julie Sartain 

48 May 2005 / 

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For Portable 
DVD Players 

Size Does Matter 

ortable DVD players 
are growing in popularity as 
many realize the benefits of 
taking these devices on air- 
planes, in the car, or simply to 
another room of the house while a 

family member watches the main TV. 
But if you take your DVD player with 
you often, inches and ounces can add 
up, especially when you consider you'll 
also be packing a rechargeable battery 
and other accessories. And if you're 
carrying luggage, a laptop, briefcase, 
shoulder bag, or other items, a couple of 
extra, unnecessary pounds could be the 
last straw. 

When shopping for a portable DVD 
player, you can easily focus only on fea- 
tures such as image and sound quality 
and overlook features such as size and 
weight. With screen sizes ranging from 
3.5 to 12 inches and weights from 1.5 to 
4 pounds, size and weight should be just 
as important a consideration. 

But now that many players have evolved 
so that some units are smaller than a 
paperback book, you may find yours as 
indispensable as a cell phone. Who says 
you have to be glued to the entertain- 
ment center to watch a movie? Enjoy 
"Message in a Bottle" as you soak in a 
luxurious bath or take a break, crawl 
into bed, and relax while watching "Lost 
in Translation." Or, you can work out 
with your Pilates DVD indoors or out. 
Use your DVD player to listen to CDs or 
MP3 music or take your portable DVD 
player to Grandma's cabin, hook it up 
to the TV, and show her your digital 
photos or video of your daughter's 
dance recital. 

Know Where You'll Watch 

With so many sizes available and so 
many ways to use a portable DVD 
player, you must consider where you'll 
be watching this device so you can find 
one that looks great and fits your 
lifestyle. Size and weight can affect how 
clear your picture is and if your DVD 
player will be easy to carry with you 
where you want to take it. 

If you need a small unit you can fit into 
your purse or small bag, you likely 
won't get the same image quality 
found in a larger unit. On a smaller 
unit, image distortion can be a prob- 
lem unless you're looking straight at 
the screen. A player with a 5-inch 
screen, such as the Audiovox D1500B 
($169;, might 
seem suitable to have on while you put 
on makeup in the morning, but you 
probably won't want it to occupy 
three kids spread across the backseat 
on a long road trip. 

For two people sitting on an airplane, the 
DVD player will probably sit on one per- 
son's tray table. The person who's viewing 
from an angle will possibly see a distorted 
image on a smaller screen. For this pur- 
pose, aim to buy no smaller than a 7-inch 
widescreen. Two options for a 7-inch 
player are the GoVideo DP7040 ($199.99; and the IDM-1731 
($199;, which mea- 
sures 1.5 inches high x 7.5 inches wide x 
5.6 inches deep (closed on a flat surface) 
and weighs about 1.75 pounds. 

You might consider a bigger unit such as 
the 8.4-inch GoVideo DP8440 ($297.99; In many ways it's a 
fairly typical portable DVD player. It sup- 
ports MP3s and JPEG (Joint Photo- 
graphic Experts Group) digital image 
files, plays CDs as well as DVDs, and has 
outputs for connecting to digital sur- 
round sound. This model weighs 2.09 
pounds and has an optional DPT100 TV 
tuner accessory ($49.99), so you can use 
the player as a little television. 

Another option is a portable DVD 
player with two screens. These are es- 
pecially suitable for long drives with 
kids. However, adding a screen in- 
creases the weight you have to carry. 
With a feature like this, you have to 
decide if the screens are more impor- 
tant to you than the added hassle of 
the extra part. All Durabrand portable 
DVD players, sold at Wal-Mart, feature 
two screens — one that's in the player 
and a separate screen that connects to 
it. With the model PVS1960 (Funai; 
$278;, which has 
two 6.2-inch screens, one child can 
even watch a movie while the other 
plays video games. 

Target Weight 

Weight is not really an issue if 
your portable DVD unit 
merely travels from the kitchen to 
the craft table to the bedroom or if 
it just hangs on the back of the 
front seat's headrest in the car for 
the kids. But it becomes a huge 
issue if one, you're carrying it from 
Concourse A to Concourse D and 
two, you're schlepping a laptop, 
briefcase, mega-purse, and shop- 
ping bags along with it. After five 
minutes, the load you thought was 
manageable seems to gain weight 
with every step you take. 

So, when you're shopping for a 
portable DVD player, don't only 
be dazzled by the sleek-looking 
unit with a brushed aluminum 
finish. Do a reality check before 
you take it home. What does it 
weigh? Will it fit in your purse or 
wherever you plan to take it? If you 
travel a lot or plan to carry the 
player in your backpack or purse 
often, aim for a lighter player that 
weighs around 2.5 pounds or less. 
If you will likely only move your 
DVD player from room to room at 
home, you can buy a player that 
weighs up to 4 pounds and prob- 
ably not be bothered by the extra 
weight. Make an appropriate 
choice, and you won't ever have to 
decide to leave the player at home 
because it's too bulky or heavy. 

Also consider whether the player is 
widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) or con- 
ventional (4:3 aspect ratio). A wide- 
screen unit offers more viewing area 
than a conventional screen and is easier 
to view from an angle. 

Tote A Tiny Portable 

Sometimes you want to do your own 
thing, but you get talked into going 
somewhere you'd rather not be. If 
you're sitting in a testosterone-filled 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 51 

Get A Larger 
Unit If . . . 

*?* Your kids will insist on 
^4* watching the entire 
first season of "SpongeBob 
SquarePants" on a road trip to 
Grandma's cabin. 

*?* On a flight, you and your 
#r 4* husband will watch a movie 
at the same time so someone may 
be viewing the screen at an angle. 

if* Some relatives at your 
*<»* upcoming family reunion 
have failing eyesight, and you want 
to show the photos you took at 
the last reunion. 


You can't imagine having to 
squint to see Johnny Depp. 

*f* You'll need to follow direc- 
^T* tions from a scrapbooking 
or other craft DVD. 


You'll view it at a distance 
from your treadmill. 

Samsung 12-inch DVD-L1200 

$999.99 • 

Audiovox 5-inch D1500B 

$169 • 

theater getting dizzy from watching car 
chases, take out your little DVD player, 
put on your headphones, and discreetly 
watch "Thelma and Louise" or another 
favorite that your husband would never 
watch with you at home. 

These little portables, along with most 
portable DVD players, can connect to a 
TV with the right cables. One model is 
the 3.5-inch Coby TF-DVD500 (around 
$175; Its composite 
video output may not give you the best 
TV picture, but when you're packing 
without an inch of space to spare, it's 
hard to beat this player's compact size. 
(For the best quality image on a TV, 
your portable DVD player should have a 
component video or S-Video output.) 

The latest gizmo for kids, launched this 
year at CES (Consumer Electronics 

Show) in Las Vegas, is Samsung's DVD 
Jr. ($149.99;, a 
handheld unit that plays 3-inch Mini 
DVDs on a 2. 5-inch screen. Samsung 
has partnered with Warner Home 
Video to provide Mini DVD titles, and 
while now there is a limited number of 
cartoons and movies on 60-minute 
discs, more titles will soon become 
available from Warner, as well as other 
studios. A typical movie requires two 
discs to fit all the content, and Mini 
DVDs are priced about the same as 
movies on regular 5-inch DVDs. You 
can also play the Mini DVDs on your 
standard home DVD player. The DVD 
Jr. is small and lightweight — about the 
size of a hamburger — so you don't 
have to worry about causing Susie's 
back to hurt when you add it to all 
the other stuff in her backpack. (See 
"Family-Friendly DVD Players: Find The 

52 May 2005 / 

Right Fit For Your Household" on page 
42 to learn more about the DVD Jr.) 

Check The Specs 

It would be logical to think that you 
could judge the weight of a unit by its 
price and/or screen size, but this isn't 
necessarily true. Consider the rather ex- 
pensive Toshiba 8.9-inch SD-P2600 
($599.99; It 
offers features not found on most 
portable DVD players, including a bat- 
tery with three and a half hours of play 
and component video output with 
1,024 x 600 resolution for a superior pic- 
ture. Its dimensions are 1.25 x 10.25 x 7 
inches, but at just under 4 pounds, it's 
one of the heaviest units on the market. 

Compare that to Samsung's 12-inch DVD- 
LI 200 ($999.99; It 

comes with three headphone jacks, 
weighs 3.3 pounds, and is a manageable 
1.1x11.9x8 inches. 

The Moral 

The weight and size of a unit are impor- 
tant factors to consider when deciding 
which portable DVD player to buy. These 
factors affect how your picture looks and 
how easy your unit is to use and carry 
with you to all the places you'd like to 
take it. Also, figure another pound or so 
for essential and optional accessories. 
Remember the AC adapter/charger, car 
adapter/charger, extra battery, A/V ca- 
bles, remote control, headphones, and 
users manual. And, of course, you'll prob- 
ably carry your favorite movie, photo CD, 
and music CD with you, as well. S§ 

by Leanna Skarnulis 

Get A Smaller 
Unit If . . . 


You'll always watch it solo. 

*fm You'll carry it in your 
*4* shoulder bag or backpack 
with your laptop. 


It will have to fit with other 
survival gear in a diaper bag. 

*?* You'll likely connect it to a 
•<|>* TV in a hotel room when 
you travel. 

0t# You'd like to discourage 
*4* fellow cruise passengers 
from rubbernecking. 

*f* It will sit directly in front 
*4* of you on your tray table 
during a flight. 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 53 

To let the music find you.. A 
all you need to know 
is Russound. 

Anywhere in your home, indoors or out, 
there can be music. Or sports. Or news. 
A Russound multi-room audio system is 
affordable, easy to use and easy to DO. 
It's the kind of home improvement that . 
brings you pleasure every day. Just ask 
your Russound design specialist for 
a solution that meets your needs and 
budget. Put Russound in your plans! 


- d 


System Control Keypad 

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• Intuitive operation -just a few buttons and an informative display 

• Built-in IR sensor relays commands from wireless remotes 

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Multi-Room A/V Controller/Amplifier 

All you need to manage and power your multi-room system 

• Manages 6 separate audio/video sources 

• Delivers sound and video wherever you want it 

Music Server 

All you need for your digital music collection 

• Holds your entire music collection, and archives new CDs as you play them 

• Delivers three independent streams of music on demand 

• Categorizes music by artist, genre, etc., and even learns your preferences 

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CE Dejargonator 

Progressive Scan 

Unlike an interlaced image (exaggerated in the center and left images), the entire progressive-scan 
image is redrawn every second. Interlaced images redraw half of the image, which can produce flicker. 

rogressive scan is quickly be- 
coming a standard feature on 
all but the most basic DVD 
players. It's an integral com- 
ponent in much of today's 
HDTV programming, and even some 
video game consoles are getting in on 
the act. To explain what it is, we'll start 
with the basics of how a video signal dis- 
plays on-screen. Although video appears 
to be a constant moving image, it's ac- 
tually composed of individual still pic- 
tures called frames. When shown in 
rapid succession — SD (standard def- 
inition) video runs at 30 frames per 
second — the human eye and brain as- 
semble these images into a continuous 
motion picture. 

SD video signals are interlaced. (Some 
HDTV signals are, too, but that's an- 
other story.) In an interlaced signal, half 
of the frame, also known as a field, illu- 
minates the screen for 1/60 of a second, 

followed by the other half for 1/60 of a 
second. Because of the manner in which 
the frame is divided into halves, image 
quality is degraded by jagged edges on 
moving objects, annoying flicker, and 
loss of detail. 

Progressive scan delivers frames to the 
screen in a slightly different fashion. 
Instead of illuminating the screen with 
60 fields (half-frames) per second, pro- 
gressive scan delivers 60 full frames per 
second. The result is far smoother mo- 
tion, greater detail, and a purer, more 
solid look. 

To see progressive scan in action, you 
will first need a progressive-scan 
source. This can be a progressive scan 
DVD player, a video game console 
adapted to output progressive scan, or 
an HD-TV signal source in the 720p 
(the "p" stands for progressive) format. 
This HDTV signal can originate from 

broadcast, cable, or satellite. 720p is 
one of two common HDTV formats 
and is used by ESPN and other content 
providers. You'll also have to have a TV 
capable of handling this increased 
picture information. After all, although 
the images are still illuminating the 
screen at the rate of 60 per second, 
each progressive-scan image contains a 
lot more picture data because it's a full 
frame instead of a half, and it takes 
more horsepower to get this more ro- 
bust imagery onto the screen. The con- 
nection between source and television 
will take the form of component video, 
a tri-cable pathway typically color- 
coded red, green, and blue. Depending 
on the content, the improvement in 
image quality with progressive scan can 
be dramatic. S§ 

by Jerry Hatchett 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 55 


t a 1 i bratecf 


system is 
you've never 
before . 

www . nhthi f i .com 

Picture This 

Qurio's Software Simplifies Photo Sharing 

ith the digital camera 
boom of recent years, the 
number of services that let 
you take and share photos has greatly in- 
creased. We can only truly appreciate to- 
day's technological revolutions by looking 
at where we've been. In the "old" days, 
when a friend wanted a copy of a picture 
from last weekend's get-together, you'd 
have to sort through your negatives 
and find the right one. She'd then have 
to take the negative to a photo-pro- 
cessing center and order a reprint. 
After she got the reprint, you'd have 
to put away the negative in its ap- 
propriate place. What a hassle! 
Thankfully, photo-sharing Web 
sites make this process much 
easier. Qurio ( is 
one of the newer photo-sharing 
services that is doing this with 
its Qurio 1.3 software. 

What Is Qurio? 

Qurio is a Web-based 

photo-sharing tool that 

lets you easily share digital 

photos with friends and 

family. It also lets you 

edit pictures and create 

unique photo gifts. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 57 


is different 

from other photo- 

sharing software and Web 

sites, such as Shutterfly (www.shut, Adobe Photoshop Album 

(, and Picasa (www in that your PC becomes 

the server for sharing photos. This means 

that your friends and family do not have 

to log into a remote server. Instead, they 

log directly onto your computer to view 

your pictures. 

With Qurio, the pictures stay on your 
computer, making editing pictures 
faster and eliminating the time spent 
uploading pictures to the Web that 
other sites require. Because your PC is 
the server, you need a high-speed In- 
ternet connection and a computer 
that's always online, so your friends and 
family can access your photos. 

Install Qurio 

At press time, to create digital albums, 
edit pictures, and create photo gifts, 
you need Qurio 1.3. Qurio 1.3 requires 
Win-dows XP/2000, Internet Explorer 
5.2 or newer, 256MB of RAM, a screen 
resolution of 1,024 x 768, 500MB of free 
hard-drive space, and a DSL (Digital 

Subscriber Line) or cable mo- 
dem high-speed Internet con- 
nection. Check Qurio's Web site 
for the most recent version and 
system requirements. 

When you've met the minimum 
system requirements, head to and click Down- 
load Now. When the download is 
complete, open the file and pro- 
ceed with installation. 

When you start Qurio for the 
first time, it will ask you to se- 
lect a user ID and password. 
Remember that other users 

Qurio's Mini Photo Books offer a new way 
to display your photos. 

(friends, family, and the general public) 
will use your user ID to view your 
photos, so make it easy to remember 
but don't use information you 
wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with 
a stranger, such as your full name, pass- 
word, or address. Once you've success- 
fully obtained your user ID and 
password, you're ready to begin using 

Friends and family may access photos 
you post on your Web site and down- 
load them to their machines or order 
prints using their own Web browsers. If 
they choose to download pictures to 
their machines, they may edit them and 
print them on their own computers. 
The beauty of Qurio is that it eliminates 
the need for family and friends to install 
special software to view or order prints: 

Our Mini Photo Book 

We ordered a Mini Photo Book to see what the final product looks like. 
It is bound by a method called side stitching, which means that the 
pages are stapled together on the side rather than on the fold or spine. 
Because of this, some of the pages may appear slightly off-center. You can 
adjust this before printing your book by shrinking your pictures on the page 
and allowing for a margin. A customer-support representative at Qurio says 
the April release corrects this problem because the program automatically 
sets the correct margins. The side stitching also makes it rather difficult to 
open the book fully. 

The print quality of the photos in the book is decent, but the printed pic- 
tures look more like a print on a color laser printer than of a high gloss photo 
print. The paper used in the Mini Photo Book is acid-free, archival quality 
paper. Unlike images you print on your inkjet printer, the pictures in your 
Mini Photo Book won't smudge. 

Our Mini Photo Book had some errors in it, but Qurio's customer service 
responded quickly to fix the problems. Although it took three reprints to get it 
right, we're satisfied with our book and with Qurio. Qurio has assured us that 
this is not a common problem. 

We were pleased with the Mini Photo Book we ordered. The service was 
easy to use, and although the book wasn't as glossy and professional looking 
as we would have liked, it cost only $9.99. The photo book is a keepsake 
that lets you commemorate special occasions, such as birthday parties, wed- 
dings, and family vacations, and there are larger, hardcover books available, 
as well. 

58 May 2005 / 


-*— i 


Print Costs 



Print Size 


J Snapfish 

This chart shows the cost of printing your photos in bulk at Qurio compared to the cost of 
printing at Shutterfly, Ofoto, and Snapfish. 

All they need is an Internet connection 
and Internet Explorer 5.2 or newer. 


Qurio recommends that you have a high- 
speed Internet connection. However, 
your friends and family who have dial-up 
Internet connections can still view your 
pictures, download them to print from 
their PCs, and order prints from Qurio. 

Qurio has another cool feature that pre- 
vents your computer from slowing 
down during times of high traffic, say 
when 100 of your friends simultaneously 
try to access one of your pictures. Qurio 
set up a network of servers that makes 
copies of recently accessed photos on 
its servers. If your computer is bom- 
barded with multiple requests, your 
friends will instead access Qurio's server 
for your popular pictures. Qurio also 
double-checks its copy with your copy 
to make sure your friends get the most 
recent version of the picture. 

Use Qurio 

Using Qurio is easy. First, you'll want to 
import your photos. Find the folder 

containing the pictures, right-click the 
folder, and select Import To Qurio. 
Qurio prompts you to enter informa- 
tion to identify the photos. Once you've 
imported the pictures, you can view 
your album or invite friends and family 
to see it. 

Qurio makes it easy to import a great 
number of photos located in various sub- 
folders with one easy step. For example, 
to bring all of the pictures in your My 
Pictures folder and subfolders into Qurio, 

follow the same steps as a regular import. 
Qurio creates albums using the folder 
names you have in My Pictures and 
places the appropriate photos in each 
album. This is especially convenient when 
you're setting up Qurio for the first time. 

You can also use the Qurio Photo 
Importer, which lets you customize 
settings so you can add picture infor- 
mation such as artist, copyright, de- 
scription, and keywords for each 
picture. This is especially helpful when 
you want to remember certain details 
about a photo or when you want to 
search for a photo using keywords. 
You can also rotate the picture and se- 
lect which album you want to put it in. 
Look for the Qurio Photo Importer in 
the System Tray next to your Windows 
Desktop clock; click the Qurio icon to 
open it. 

Because there are usually some pictures 
in our albums that we want to share and 
others we want to keep private, we like 
Qurio's ability to set permissions accord- 
ingly. After importing your pictures and 
organizing them into albums, you decide 
who, if anyone, can see them. All albums 
are initially set as Private, meaning that 

Cost Comparison 

Qurio's cost per print is in-line with other online photo-sharing sites such as 
Shutterfly (, Ofoto (, and Snapfish 
( Although Qurio doesn't offer discounts for bulk purchases as 
some sites do, its starting prices are competitive, but don't look for wallet-sized prints; 
Qurio doesn't sell them. All of these sites offer similar photo-editing capabilities. 

Here's a table of the prices assuming you're not ordering in bulk. See the "Print 
Costs" chart for more information. 




















* (gives discounts for volume orders) 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 59 

you as the owner are the only person 
who can view them. Therefore, if you 
want your friends and family to be able 
to see the albums you've created, you'll 
have to change the default setting from 
Private to Public. Qurio automatically 
changes an album to Public when you 
send an invitation to view that album to 
friends or family. When albums are set to 
Public, anyone who knows your unique 
Qurio Web address (which is set up as 
http:// your user 
can access your pictures. 

The April release of Qurio lets you 
password protect your albums. Qurio's 
customer support says, "You will still 
be able to have public galleries for im- 
ages that you want to share with 
everyone. But, if you have children and 
only want their pictures accessible to 
friends and family, then you can set a 
password for the album." By only giving 
the password to the people you are 

comfortable sharing these photos with, 
you can feel confident that your pic- 
tures are in safe hands. 

Another way to share your photos is 
to list your photo site on the Qurio 
Photo Gallery so that everyone who 
visits Qurio's Web site will have the 
opportunity to view your photos by 
clicking the Photo Gallery link on the 
home page. 

Qurio has unique and convenient fea- 
tures which let you share your photos 
with friends and family. It also elimi- 
nates the hassle of digging through 
your negatives, finding the one from 
last week's get together that your 
friend has been bugging you for, and 
giving her the negative so she can make 
a print copy of the picture. «53 

by Jennifer Johnson 

©Back - ^ %\ £ ^ pSarc 

h **» 

te, ^Media |$ 0.Q m-UfBi 


Go gle- 

■*| $) Search Web ■ 

d JH Options 


Contact Customer Service Site 

I Product | Photo Gallery I Buy Photos & Gifts I Learning 

Qurio Photo Store 

Qurio turns your pictures into beautiful photo gifts. 





'$$& w^ 



Qurio lets you create a variety of unique gifts from your photos. 

Mini Photo 

Qurio offers a variety of photo 
gifts, including the Mini 
Photo Book, which you create on 
your computer using Qurio's soft- 
ware. You can view and share the 
Mini Photo Book with friends and 
family online, and you can order 
print copies of the book. The 
double-sided, 20-page, soft-cover 
book lets you add up to 96 pic- 
tures, albeit fairly small pictures; 
the book is only 5 inches high x 5 
inches wide. 

Creating a Mini Photo Book is 
a fairly straightforward process. 
You can customize it with back- 
ground colors and effects, page 
captions, and different layouts. 
Adding clip art, text, or picture ef- 
fects; resizing and moving pictures; 
and zooming in and out of pic- 
tures are also options. 

How Qurio 

Qurio uses the concept of peer- 
to-peer technology. This is 
similar to the way in which a pow- 
erful server provides content to 
someone browsing the Internet. 
Because today's PCs are more pow- 
erful than they were in the past, 
home PCs can perform small tasks 
that used to require a server, in- 
cluding sharing music or photos 
over the Internet. Qurio takes ad- 
vantage of this by giving your PC 
the power to share photos from your 
PC by setting up a peer-to-peer con- 
nection between your computer and 
your friend's computer. 

60 May 2005 / 

Cordless? Cellular? 


Home phone meets cell phone— together 
at last. With Uniden's new Bluetooth 
enabled Digital 5.8 GHz Cordless Phone, 
now you can use your land line for 
crystal-clear communications anywhere 
in the house, or tap into your cell phone 
minutes to take advantage of free long 
distance? The Digital 5.8GHz Cordless 


aLso features slim styling and all the 
features you love, like a full-coLor 
LCD dispLay, recordable ring tones, 





downloadable background pictures, 
handset-to-handset text messaging and 
an optional wireless Bluetooth headset. 
All models also come standard with up 
to 1 handset capability from | 
a single base unit, advanced 
phonebook features, caller I D, 
handset speakerphone A 

h h i i * Th ©Bluetooth' 

and a whole lot more.This HEADSET 
advanced cordless is even READY 
backward compatible with other Uniden 
Digital 5.8 GHz expandable phones. Now 
you can get the best of both worlds. 
Visit us at 


A World Without Wires 

one and depends on your personal cellul 
?d by Bluetooth SIG. Inc. © Bluetooth Sl( 

2005. ©2005. Uniden Air 

(5et The Shot . . . 

Schneider Optics .65X 
Wide-Angle Converter 


Get the whole picture 

with this high-end lens 

Schneider Optics Circular 
Polarizer (Kaesemann) 


Rid yourself of 
glare with this 
quality filter 

Sony PSC-FS26 

Perfect for amateurs 
and enthusiasts alike 

Gitzo G112S 
Sport Tripod 

Strong and lightweight 
but heavy on the budget 

Total Price: $3,79636 

Photo Album 


Show off your photos with this nifty 

photo reader; the viewer works 

with your PC and TV 

Epson Stylus Photo K&OO 

Photo perfection in a box 


Sony BC-TRM 

For all of the times you 
need to charge on the go 

Sony NP-FM50 


Have the power you need 
for those unexpected 
photo opportunities 

Lowe pro Stealth f^ 
Reporter 500 AW 


Carry all of your camera 

equipment and more 

with this fancy bag 

SanDisk Extreme III 
CompactFlash: 1GB 


Its speed size, and 

ruggedness make it the 

ultimate accessory 

Sima Cleaning 


Kit Model CMK-1 


Clean every nook and cranny 

of your digital camera 

Adobe Photoshop CS 

Crammed with features to help you 
make your photos 
even better 

62 May 2005 / 

For Less 

Want a quality digital camera setup but don't have 
a professionals budget? We'll show you how you 
can have it all without breaking the bank. 

Total Price: $750.17 

Kodak Retinar 37mm 
Wide-Angle Lens* 


Enlarge your view 
without enlarging 
your budget 

•You'll need che KODAK 
DX7440 Lens Adapcer co use 
37mm lenses and Fticers, Cose: $19.95 

Kodak PX7440 

Tons of features but not tons of money 

Kodak Li-Ion Rapid 
Battery Charger** 


Charge your battery 

in a flash 

**Qne sec of rechargeable batteries 
with charger is included with the Kodak DX7440 

CaseLogic Digital Photo 
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I lold your camera and 

plenty of accessories 

37MM Circular PRQMASTER 
Polarizing Filter #1701* 


Budget-wise sunglasses 
for your camera 

SanPisk ImageMate 
5-ln-1 Reader/Writer 


Transfer your pictures to your PC 
in a jiffy with the one-step 
upload button 

"You'll need the KODAK 
DX7440 Lens Adapcer co use 
37mm lenses and filcers. Cose: $19.95 

***This is not MSRP but 

an average of prices from eight retail Web sices. 

Glottoe VT 901 

Lightweight and 
inexpensive: good for 
the back and 
the pocketbook 


Canon PIXMA IP3000 

Good-looking and affordable 
prints at home 

Kodak High-Capacity Li-Ion 
Battery (1050 mAh)** 


Don't throw money away with 
disposable batteries 

Kingston SD/512 512MB 

SecureDigital (SD) 

Memory Card 


A must- have to get 
all of those pictures 

**One sec of rechargeable bacceries 
with charger is included wich the Kodak DX7440 

LensPen LP- 

A handy gadget 

for cleaning your camera 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 3,0 

Enhance your photos 
without enhancing 
your budget 

Compiled by Jennifer Johnson 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 63 

"When paired with a suitably high-end A/V receiver, the RBH 
CT-MAX will rock your home theater to its foundations/* 

- Steve Guttenberg, c\ 

In either stereo or multichannel modes, the RBH excelled at 

producing a cleanly defined soundstage, with imaging uncluttered 

by any hint of a box or multiple drivers. . .The result is that the 

Compact Theater convincingly disappears as a sound source. 

-Neil Gader, The Perfect Vision Magazi" - 






\ With its die-cast aluminum construction and aluminum 

\ woofers, the RBH CT-MAX delivers "foundation rocking" 

performance, yet won t rock your budget to its foundations. 

RBH s Compact Theater systems offer the unparalleled 
value and incomparable attention to detail which have 
come to be expected from RBH. 

The CT-Max is also available with the MS- 10.1, 
featuring dual 10-inch active woofers, RBHs TAV™ 
technology and a 250-Watt RMS built in amplifier. 

Redefining the way 
you experience sound.™ 

RBH Sound • Layton, Utah • USA • (800) 543-2205 • 

Know How 

One Problem, Three Solutions: Zoom & Crop 

by Brian Hodge 

n our second installment of Know How, we'll look at 
two of the most basic tools in our photo editors. 

When you use zoom, you enlarge a photo in your 
workspace. You may need to get a closer look at 
small details, and many photo fixes (such as scratch 
repair) are easier to perform at high zoom levels. 
When you crop a photo, you cut away part of the 

original image to improve the composition of the portion 
you're leaving behind. Removing background clutter and other 
distractions can help clarify the focus on your subject. 

In our illustrations, we'll be zooming in on and cropping a 
photo of a stone sundial to create a more interesting close-up 
of just one area. 

Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 

With your photo opened in the 

workspace, select the Zoom Tool 

from at or near the top of the 

toolbar on the left. The Zoom 

Tool (as well as the Crop Tool) is 

available in both the Quick Fix 

and Standard Edit views. There 

are several ways to zoom: 

(A) Select a Zoom button with 
the plus (+) or minus signs (-) and 
click the photo to enlarge or 
shrink it; (B) Use the Zoom 
Percentage box. Type a per- 
centage and press ENTER, or 
click the box's blue arrow and 
drag the slider to set the view up 
to 1,600%. For finer control, use 
your arrow keys. 

If you need to enlarge your work- 
space, click the buttons in the 
lower-left and -right corners to 
close the Photo Bin (possible in 
both views) and Palette Bin (pos- 
sible in Standard Edit view only). 

|lSy^ | Zoom: | 21% > | 

: 1 .6% C RGB/8) 
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* Photo Bin Ifil 

in bin 

nro, Rin M 


Palette Bin 


e Palette Bin ■ 


' Width: Z\ & Height:^ 

Crop Tool 5 in 


Crop Tool 8 in x 10 in Crop Tool J in :.: 5 in 

For cropping, select the Crop 
Tool from the toolbar. 

Again, the Options bar provides 
multiple methods. To crop free- 
hand, click and drag the photo to 
select the area you want to keep 
and then press ENTER. 

Select a size from the Preset menu or 
type values in the Width and Height 
boxes. This doesn't work quite as you 
may expect. As you click and drag the 
selection marquee over the photo, the 
program constrains your selection area 
to a fixed proportion. When you then 
press ENTER, it resamples the image 
to fit into the selected dimensions. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 65 

Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9 

Select the Pan/Zoom Tool from 
the top left of the toolbar. Even 
on the Pan setting, the Tool 
Options Palette displays the var- 
ious Zoom methods. Use the 
method you prefer. 

(A) For control up to 5,000%, 

click the arrows in the Zoom 

Percentage box, type a numerical 

setting, or drag the slider; (B) 

Click Zoom In/Out for 5% to 

10% increments or Zoom More 

for larger jumps; and (C) Select 

the Zoom Tool from the Toolbar 

and click the photo to zoom in or 

right-click to zoom out. 

Select the Crop Tool 
from the Toolbar. 

To crop freehand, click and drag 

the photo and then click the 

Apply button on the Tool 

Options Palette. 

X Presets; Zoom(%): Zoom out .i . - Actual size: 

: : ^\ z°°m z 1 



File Edit View Image Effects 

Adjust Layers Objects 

Ds*l^ a a a < 

' Enhance Photo " X 

X Presets: ZoomO): Zoom out /in 

1 Zoom more: 1 Actual size: 

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10 x 15 cm ho 
10 x 15 cm vertical 


13 x 18 crnh 

13 x 18 cm vertical 

20 x 30 cm h 

20 x 30 cm vertical 


3.5 x 5 in horizontal 

□ - 

3.5 x 5 in vertical 

4 x 6 in vertical 

5 x 7 in horizontal 

5 x 7 in vertical 


8 x 10 in horizontal 


8x 10 in vertical 

To crop to fixed dimen- 
sions, click the Presets 
button to open the drop- 
down menu and select a 
size, which creates a selec- 
tion box on the photo. 

X P 


■esets: Width: Height 


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Click anywhere inside the 
box to drag it wherever 
you wish and then click 
the Apply button. 

You can also drag the selection 
box's handles to proportion- 
ately adjust the selection area. 
When you click the Apply 
button, Paint Shop Pro re- 
samples the selection to fit the 
preset dimensions. 

66 May 2005 / 

Microsoft Digital Image Pro 1 

Zoom controls are at the right 
end of the Workspace Toolbar. 
Drag the slider to set the view 
percentage up to 2,000%, click 
the plus/minus buttons, type a 
value, and press ENTER. On the 
percentage box's right, the four- 
way arrow button snaps the pic- 
ture to a full-shot view, regardless 
of how far you've zoomed. 

The Zoom To Selection button 

lets you target a specific area. 

Choose the Marquee Tool from 

the Workspace Toolbar, click 

and drag the photo to make 

your selection, and click the 

Zoom To Selection button. 

Select the Crop Tool 
from the main Toolbar. 

m — 

§tlk a . /■ y| 





10 x 8 



8 x 10 
3.5 x 5 

2.5 X 3.5) 

7x5 f*\ 


5 x 3.5 

3.5 ■< 2.5) 
PC or TV (4 : 3) 

'G (3 : 4) 
Srnartphone (1 : 1.25) 
en (16 : 9) 

In the Task Pane, under Step 
1, you'll see a drop-down 
menu. It defaults to Custom, 
which lets you choose any di- 
mensions you want. 

You can also open the menu to 
choose a proportion preset. 
Notice, however, that these are 
proportions only, not fixed sizes 
in inches, etc. (If you need a spe- 
cific size, after you complete the 
crop, choose Resize Image from 
the Format Menu.) 

Click and drag to make 
the selection area. Click 
the Done button. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 67 

Use Flash & Shade 

Explore The Manual 
White-Balance Mode 

For backlit pictures, the Flash and Shade set- 
tings work well. They add reds and yellows sim- 
ilar to Cloudy but will imbue the picture with 
more of those colors than Cloudy. In a backlit 
setting, the subject, not directly exposed to 
light, will be tinted blue. Shade and Flash add 
more red to the subject, which eliminates the 
cold blue. With a flash (not the white balance 
Flash setting), color and detail can wash out, 
but Shade and Flash help maintain the natural 
qualities of the picture. 

Take Advantage Of 
The Auto Mode 

As the name implies, Auto mode makes taking 
properly colored pictures automatic. Without 
having to manually adjust settings, the camera 
automatically alters colors to equalize light- 
ing effects. You won't get the best hues or the 
sharpest colors, but you also won't get pic- 
tures with a completely wrong tint. For a 
picture in which color isn't crucial to the 
composition, Auto mode is probably your 
best and safest bet. It also serves nicely for 
taking a picture that spans multiple types 
and quantities of lighting. 

Experiment With 

Instead of setting white as the neutral color, 
try setting blue or green or any other color as 
neutral. The camera, attempting to balance 
the light, will shade all of the pictures in the 
opposite color of what you have labeled as 
neutral. If you set green as neutral, the pictures 
will be tinted red, blue becomes orange, and 
yellow becomes purple. This lets you create 
some very stylized and surreal photographs. 

In Manual, you take control of the camera's 
color spectrum. By telling your camera what 
you perceive as white, it will adjust all other 
colors to match your perception. Using this fea- 
ture, you can capture a photo exactly as you see 
it, no matter the lighting. Sometimes, this can 
be faster than using a preset option, as you 
don't have to pick and choose. You know if you 
set it manually the colors are as true as possi- 
ble. As soon as you change settings, reset your 
camera for the new lighting condition. Your eye 
will adjust to make the colors stay the same 
wherever you are, but your camera will not. It 
helps to carry around a white card to make sure 
you always have a way to balance your camera 
in any lighting context. 

Use The Cloudy 

On interior shots or noncloudy days, use the 
Cloudy setting. On a cloudy day, there is no di- 
rect source of light. Instead of the yellowish-red- 
dish light of a candle, an interior light, or the sun, 
the light, and consequently your picture, will 
have blue qualities. To offset this, the Cloudy 
setting inserts slight reds and yellows to create a 
more balanced look. When you use this feature 
in atmospheres other than cloudy or overcast 
days, environments will look warmer and cheeks 
will look rosier. This is also effective at giving pic- 
tures a tinge of that aged yellow look. 

by Paul Rogers 

68 May 2005 / 

Backup Flash Cards, 

Burn ens a Plan bvbs 

The Kanguru Slim FC-RW is the ultimate 
multimedia device! Use it to back-up Flash 
Cards directly to a CD without a computer! 
Simply insert a card and a blank CD and press 
copy, it's that easy! You can even backup cards 
over 1GB to more than one CD if you need to! 

The Kanguru Slim FC-RW can also be con- 
nected directly to a TV for viewing slideshows or 
playing DVDs. Or use it as an external CD-RW, 
a CD/MP3 Player, or an 8 in 1 Card Reader. 

A rechargeable battery makes it perfect for 
portable use, plus it comes with a remote control 
for DVD Playback and picture viewing! 

3SXDLff SoitUtonA 
Call: 888.KANGURU 

PC Connection I 
Call: 800.800.5555 

Go, Ro 

iRobot's Roomba Discovery Wants To 
Catch Your Dirt 

70 May 2005 / 

ce ©home 

ost of us, when we were little, firmly believed that eventually robots 
would clean up after us, freeing us from endless dirty dishes and bags 
of smelly trash. And then what happened? You grew up and got a place of 
your own to clean, and now that the future is here, you can't help feeling a 
little . . . cheated. 

When iRobot introduced the Roomba in 2002, the general consensus was that 
it was a great idea but still something of a novelty item. Now in their second 
generation, Roombas have had several refinements, so it's time to put the 
higher-end Roomba Discovery to the test. 

The Roomba & Its Accessories 

The Roomba looks like a beefed-up Frisbee. It's 13 inches wide and 3.25 inches tall (when settled 
on its flexible wheels) with a curved row of four control buttons the size of quarters. 

Setup is simple: Flip it over onto its back and snap in the yellow, brick-like nickel-metal hydride 
battery pack. Flip it upright again, and it's ready for charging. You can do this one of two ways: 
Plug the charger cable directly into the vacuum's socket or plug the cable into the Home Base 
and let the Roomba charge through its pair of contact points. 

Although it isn't essential for use, the Home Base can act as the Roomba's docking station. As 
long as they're in the same vicinity, the Roomba can usually lock onto the Home Base's in- 
frared signal and find its way back to the Home Base when it's finished working or if it needs 
to recharge in the middle of a big job (or "mission," in Roomba-speak). It takes about three 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 71 

ce ©home 

hours to go from dead to fully charged, 
which will give you up to two hours of 
continuous operation. 

If you don't want to use the Home Base, 
you can use the included wall mount to 
store your unit. A replacement filter, a 
remote control, and two Virtual Walls 
also come standard. 

Virtual Walls are clever little devices 
that run on two D batteries and emit 
an IR (infrared) beam that bars the 
Roomba's way. If you want to block a 
wide hallway, for instance, place a 
Virtual Wall on one side of the opening, 
aim it across, set the range (0 to 3 feet, 
4 to 7 feet, or 8-plus feet), and turn 
it on. If you forget to turn it off, no 
problem. It runs on a two-and-a-half- 
hour timer. 

The Dirty Work 

To put the Roomba to work, set it in 
the middle of the room's largest area of 
open floor space, press the Power 
button, and then press the Clean 
button. After a triumphant fanfare of 
electronic beeps, the unit spirals out- 
ward. Once it encounters an obstacle, 
such as furniture, it starts finding its 
way around the room in what looks 
like a random cleaning pattern, but it 
isn't. The Roomba's navigation meth- 
ods are derived from minesweeping 
technology that iRobot developed 
for the U.S. government. When the 
Roomba calculates it has cleaned the 
area (it's likely that it will have covered 
most of the floor more than once), 
it automatically stops or returns to 
Home Base. 

The process certainly takes longer than 
it would if you were using an upright or 
canister vacuum . . . but then, those re- 
quire constant attention and effort and 
precious time out of your day. 

The Roomba has two other options in 
addition to the basic Clean mode. Press 
the Spot button, and the unit vacuums 
an area with a 3-foot diameter, spiraling 
first outward and then back inward. 
The Max button sends the Roomba on 
the ultimate mission: cleaning for two 
hours (or until its battery depletes), re- 
gardless of how many times it may 
cover the room. 

Surface recommendations. The Room- 
ba needs a reasonably level floor sur- 
face; however, if you can handle it 
with an upright or canister vacuum, it 
shouldn't pose any problems for the 
Roomba. The one exception is deep- 
pile carpet. iRobot doesn't recom- 
mend using the unit on deep-pile, 
and our tests bear that out. Also, the 
Roomba automatically adjusts how it 
cleans when it moves from bare floors 
of wood, linoleum, and tile to low- and 
medium-pile carpets and their area- 
rug equivalents. 

Sensory Overload 

To intelligently approach its tasks, the 
Roomba uses three types of sensors. 

Bump sensors. Watch the Roomba in 
action, and you'll notice it's rather ag- 
gressive and even seems inquisitive at 
times. Rimming almost the front half of 
the unit is a crescent-moon-shaped 
bumper that flexes inward and won't 
scuff what it hits. 

Bumping into objects or furniture is 
how the Roomba learns about its 
surroundings. It gathers information 
about its environment at a rate of 67 
times per second. The bump sensors, as 
well as calculations the unit makes as it 
travels, help it map where in a room it's 

72 May 2005 / 

ce ©home 

Tips & Precautions 

Because the Roomba isn't like upright or canister models, you need 
to approach cleaning with a Roomba differently than you would 
with your normal vacuum. 

When most people need to vacuum, they tend to pick up 
clutter and move items as they go. You need to do this before 
you set the Roomba on its mission to provide the Roomba ac- 
cess to the largest amount of floor space as possible. You'll also 
need to pick up such loose items as socks, which can hang up 
underneath the unit and stop its mission. 

Monitor the Roomba's progress the first time you use it in a room 
and be on the lookout for trouble spots. It may be just low enough 
to get wedged under a kitchen counter overhang, cross braces be- 
neath an end table, or another low-resting piece of furniture. 

Look for potential traps, too. We watched the unit scoot under a cabinet 
and then lock into a repeating pattern without ever extracting itself. Once 
you're aware of trouble spots, you can block access to them next time. 

The Roomba requires more frequent maintenance than a regular vacuum. Its bin isn't nearly the size of a vacuum 
bag, so empty it after every two or three missions, and empty it more if the Roomba has to clean a higher than 
normal amount of messes. 

The Roomba's manual recommends cleaning its brushes after every 10 missions. If you have a pet that sheds a 
lot, we recommend cleaning it more often. The brushes can pick up a great deal of hair in a hurry. 

been, where there are obstacles, and 
where it still needs to go. 

If the unit relied on noncontact mapping 
methods, such as optical sensors, it would 
stop at such nonobstacles as dust ruffles 
and wouldn't travel underneath beds. 

Dirt sensors. Located in the dirt path, 
over the beater brushes, is a pair of sonic 
sensors that "listen" to the cleaning 
process. They're sensitive to sound 
waves and can hear concentrations of 
particles as small as ground pepper. 
When these sensors identify a flurry of 
grit, the Roomba goes into Dirt Detect 
mode (the blue Dirt Detect light comes 
on) and cleans the immediate area with 
greater intensity. 

Cliff sensors. Mounted under the front 
edge, these are optical sensors that 
prevent the Roomba from taking a fatal 
tumble down a flight of stairs. However, 
be cautious when using the Roomba 
near stairs with rounded edges, on slip- 
pery surfaces, or on light-colored floors, 
as these sensors may be slightly less ef- 
fective in these situations. 

The Cleanup 

Because of its rounded shape, the 
Roomba has no snout to poke into cor- 
ners. You have to rely on its whisk 
brush to pull in as much dirt as it can 
reach in a corner, and this brush may 
not catch everything. It doesn't clean 
stairways, and with no socket for a 

hose and attachments, you can't use it 
on furniture, upholstery, blinds, or any 
other higher-elevation use that a con- 
ventional vacuum can handle. 

But as an automated unit that will han- 
dle general cleaning for nearly all of your 
floor space, the Roomba does what it 
promises. We were impressed by how 
much it dredged up from floors, carpets, 
and rugs that looked clean to the eye. If 
you invest enough time to learn its ten- 
dencies and quirks, you can save your- 
self hours of vacuuming time and effort 
in the long run. 313 

by Brian Hodge 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 73 

ce ©home 

The Roomba Torture Test 

To see how the Roomba Discovery would perform 
under different circumstances, we turned it loose on 
a variety of messes that we re-created on various 
floor surfaces. 

For our messes, we used eight dry substances. For 
consistency from one surface to the next, we mea- 
sured out a roughly equal portion. 

For our surfaces, we used bare floor and low- and 
medium-pile carpets. The carpets we used were 
sample sections, so we could shake them out to see 
what, if anything, had been left in the nap. We alter- 
nated between the Roomba's Spot mode and using 
the remote control to drive the unit over the mess. 

Even though iRobot discourages using the Roomba 
on deep-pile carpet, we were prepared to give it a 
whirl but quickly discovered why it's not recom- 
mended. The Roomba simply couldn't move 
through the carpet. Imagine a dachshund in a foot of 
mud, and you should get the picture. 

Bare Floor 

Sent quite a bit skittering away, 
creating a wider mess. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

Clean, thorough pickup. 


O Medium-Pile Carpet 

^ Decent pickup, but grounds 

^ started to work down into 

Q the nap. 

Bare Floor 

Dreadful. It sucked up quite a bit but 
created an ever-worsening pattern of 
tire tracks that required a mop to 
clean. Worse, flour kept sifting out of 
the Roomba and, in general, made 
such an unholy mess that we aban- 
doned further flour tests. 

| Low-Pile Carpet 

| n/a 

3 Medium-Pile Carpet 

O n/a 



Bare Floor 

Missed almost all. Airflow kept 
blowing tufts away. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

Quick, thorough pickup. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

Quick, thorough pickup. 

Bare Floor 

Kicked several pieces away, but 
easy to chase them down with 
remote control. Complete suc- 
cess apparent until we realized 
that the unit had corralled most 
of the pieces underneath instead 
of sucking them up. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

100% pickup. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

100% pickup. 

74 May 2005 / 

ce ©home 

Bare Floor 

Several grains skittered away, but 
easy to get everything using remote. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

Got most; some grains remained 
after several back-and-forth passes. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

Good surface job, but on shakeout 
we discovered lots of grit left behind. 

Bare Floor 

Lots of shooting rice. Oddly, seemed 

to jolt Roomba out of Spot mode, 

and it started roving. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

Rice still wanted to skitter away but 
not nearly as badly. Got it all. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

Rice and Roomba started to 

cooperate. Got every grain; 

no escape attempts. 

Bare Floor 

Airflow kicked it around 

substantially, requiring extensive 

remote chase down. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

Reasonably thorough pickup. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

Passable job; still fine bits 
and dust left. 

Bare Floor 

Airflow kicked pieces around 
substantially, requiring exten- 
sive remote chase down. 

Low-Pile Carpet 

100% pickup. 

Medium-Pile Carpet 

100% pickup. 











^% ^% ' ^r^f 

The Roomba Torture Test: 

Substance Summary 

Based on the results of our 
tests, the substances that the 
Roomba vacuumed up were, 
from easiest to hardest: 

1. Shredded Paper 

2. Pet Hair 

3. Rice 

4. Popcorn 

5. Sawdust 

6. Dry Coffee Grounds 

7. Sand 

8. Flour 

Of course, there's much more 
to it than a simple ranking. 
Items two through six could be 
shuffled into nearly any order 
because the Roomba reacted 
similarly to all of them. They 
were reasonably easy to clean 
on low- and medium-pile car- 
pets, but the Roomba's airflow 
had a tendency to blow very 
fine or lightweight substances 
across a bare floor. We also 
used fairly heavy concentra- 
tions of our grittier sub- 
stances — worse than you'd 
likely find in one spot on 
a household floor under av- 
erage conditions. 

The Roomba Torture Test: 

Surface Summary 

Based on the results of our 
testing, the floor surfaces that 
the Roomba cleaned were, 
from easiest to hardest: 

1. Low-Pile Carpet 

2. Medium-Pile Carpet 

3. Bare Floor 

4. Deep-Pile Carpet 

(not recommended by iRobot) 

As with the Substance 
Summary, this is a general 
ranking, and some substance 
and surface combinations 
are exceptions to this list. For 
example, rice was easier to 
pick up on medium-pile 
carpet than low-pile, and the 
Roomba picked up sand on a 
bare floor more thoroughly 
than it did on carpet. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 75 

76 May 2005 / celifestyles. 




-— *^ 



ce ©home 

Living Smart At 

Playa Vista 

A New California Community 
Brings Cutting-Edge 
Technology Home 

ust 40 years after "The Jetsons" 
first invited us into a futuristic 
community where talking 
robomaids and flying cars were 
the norm, a planned commu- 
nity in southern California was 
born that is not so far off from 
the animated world Hanna- 
Barbera envisioned. 

Located on the west side of 
Los Angeles, the new town, 
Playa Vista, welcomed its first resi- 
dents in the fall of 2003. The project, 
which is still under development, is cur- 
rently home to roughly 2,500 people, 
with plans for a total residential popula- 
tion of 10,000 when the project is fin- 
ished in 2010 (about 50 years ahead of 
the Jetsons' imagined life in 2062). 

Playa Vista's planners are experimenting 
with a whole new model for urban living, 
a model that prioritizes technology and 
convenience. While residents do not yet 
have their own versions of Rosie, the 
Jetsons' humanlike robot maid, they can 
opt to have appliances and technology 
upgrades installed that do everything 
from press their clothes to cook their 
dinners while they're away from home. 
And while flying cars aren't on the 
horizon just yet, quiet, open-air, zero- 
emission EVs (electric vehicles), which are 
just slightly larger than golf carts, are 

commonly seen cruising along the Playa 
Vista streets. They are used exclusively by 
the Playa Vista maintenance staff, and 
residents can finance them along with 
their home loans and then receive pre- 
ferred parking privileges. Because 90% of 
the parking at Playa Vista is under- 
ground, cars mostly remain out of sight 
in this pedestrian-friendly community. 

Despite being only two years old, Playa 
Vista already has a long and compli- 
cated history. First envisioned in 1978, 
the development, which is housed on 
the former site of the famed actor/in- 
dustrialist/recluse Howard Hughes' avia- 
tion business, was originally conceived 
as a city within a city. The designs called 
for modern high-rise office buildings ac- 
companied by roughly 7,000 housing 
units. Plans for several hundred new 
boat slips at neighboring Marina del Rey 
were included, as well as 72 protected 
acres for a nature preserve. 

It took six years for the CCC (California 
Coastal Commission) to approve the 
project, and by then, the plans had ex- 
panded to include nearly 9,000 homes, 
840 boat slips, and a protected, 175-acre 
marshland in the Ballona Wetlands. 

Court battles related to environmental 
concerns and other issues raised by 
neighboring communities bogged 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 77 

ce ©home 

down the development for more than a 
decade after the CCC green-lighted 
Playa Vista in 1984. 

In 1997, nearly 20 years after attempts 
to found Playa Vista began, the original 

developer succumbed to the financial 
pressures of litigation and other delays 
and defaulted on payments to most of 
its lenders, thereby losing its stake in 
the future of the property. A group, in- 
cluding investment bankers and a 

union pension fund, purchased the 
property and proceeded with the cur- 
rent plans for development, which pri- 
oritize public spaces, maximize private 
spaces, and forbid any building from 
standing more than four stories high. 

Playa Vista's president Steve Soboroff 
describes his town as "a model for 
urban living, bringing together the best 
of the Westside: dream homes near the 
beach, cutting-edge technology, and 
neighborhood charm — all close to 
where people work." 

A Strong Backbone 

The key to the "cutting-edge technology" 
Soboroff refers to begins with the pow- 
erful wired backbone built in to every 
home. Fifteen developers are building 
properties at Playa Vista, and each one is 
required to fulfill technical specifications 
that leave the homes ready for just about 
anything. Every room in every home has 
at least one universal outlet which pro- 
vides voice and data and two video lines. 
On move-in day, residents can essentially 
flip a switch — or plug in their TVs, com- 
puters, or other devices — and receive 
high-speed Internet access, digital cable, 
and TiVo in every room without running 
cables, drilling holes, calling tech support, 
or relying on old, faulty wiring to dial up. 

A wireless router is also standard, so resi- 
dents with Wi-Fi-enabled devices can get 
online from anywhere, immediately, from 
day one. The initial cost of the wiring is 
minimal compared to what it would cost 
to upgrade the wiring later, and the ex- 
pense is simply rolled into the purchase 
price of the property. The monthly fees 
for services such as cable Internet access 
are included in the monthly master asso- 
ciation dues paid by every household. So, 
on top of easy access and a discounted 
rate, residents never have to see another 
bill from their cable company or ISP 
again. Derek Fraychineaud, director of 
construction management at Playa Vista, 
says the master association dues are $190 

ce ©home 

per month and include unlimited use of 
the public amenities such as the health 
and fitness center, three swimming pools, 
meeting rooms, 30 parks, game rooms, 
use of a copier, and a private Dolby THX 
theater, among other things. 

Fraychineaud says, "Because we have 
this backbone, it opens the door to dif- 
ferent technologies, such as lighting 
control, home automation, and smart 
appliances. All of this cool stuff means 
that when you move into your home, 
your home is fully networked." 

Residents can use the network for simple 
things, such as printer and file sharing, or 
for more high-end tasks, such as total 
home automation. 

"You have the option and the ability to 
control all of the functions in your home 
using the home network, from the 
audio/video entertainment system to the 
climate controls," says Fraychineaud. 
"You can do nanny cams, monitor your 
security system — turn it on, turn it off, 
see who's at your front door — even while 
you're at work. If you were to purchase 
smart appliances or Internet-enabled ap- 
pliances, you could use them right out of 
the box, as well." 

Your Own Tech Guru 

Each resident can choose how much or 
how little to use her high-tech home's ca- 
pabilities. And to help her make choices 
and get set up, Playa Vista has contracted 
with CompUSA to offer a service it calls 
Technology Concierge. Every resident of 
Playa Vista can call the Technology 
Concierge for help and advice with any- 
thing technology-related at no charge. 
Need help setting up your wireless net- 
work? No problem. The Technology 
Concierge will come do it for you. Tired 
of pulling the string on your floor-to- 
ceiling windows blinds? No problem. The 
technology concierge will help you select 
and install automatic blinds, which you 
can operate remotely. 

Trouble In Paradise 


hile residents at Playa Vista seem delighted with their community- 
in-progress — and 36,000 people remain on the waiting list — the 
long and hard-fought battle against Playa Vista is still going strong. 
Environmentalists, Native Americans, and residents of neighboring 
communities have banded together to fight against construction that 
they fear will result in a myriad of problems ranging from traffic grid- 
lock and overtaxed sewers to desecration of sacred burial grounds. In 
more than two decades of lawsuits, opponents have taken on both the 
project's original developer — who was bankrupted by the process — and 
its current group of developers. 

One of the largest bones of contention has been the protection of the 
1,087-acre Ballona Wetlands ecosystem. The original plan called for 
just 75 protected acres, but two years ago, the state of California ap- 
proved a plan to purchase roughly 200 acres of the property, and in re- 
turn, Playa Vista's developers agreed to give up the right to build on an 
additional 415 acres. That area will now be restored and preserved as 
the Ballona Wetlands. 

Playa Vista's planners have also agreed to offer unfettered access to 
Playa Vista's public spaces. Approximately $40 million has been set aside 
by developers for planning and building parks that will be open to 
everyone, not just residents of Playa Vista. 

Despite the many concessions — shorter buildings, preserved wetlands, 30 
public parks, recycled construction materials, $100 million earmarked for 
"transportation improvements," an emphasis on reducing car emissions (by 
encouraging the use of foot traffic, bicycles, and EVs, and by providing an 
electric tram to public transportation) — the fight to stop Phase II of Playa 
Vista's growth is now under way. 

Last year, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the next 
phase, dubbed "The Village." But in November, The City of Santa 
Monica, along with Surfrider Foundation (a nonprofit group that focuses 
on protecting oceans and beaches), representatives of the Tongva/ 
Gabrieleno Native Americans, and the nonprofit Ballona Wetlands Land 
Trust, filed papers in Los Angeles County Superior Court challenging the 
City of Los Angeles' decision. 

The lawsuit seeks to prove that the plan was approved without prepara- 
tion of an adequate EIR (Environmental Impact Report), that it calls for the 
unethical and unnecessary removal of close to 400 burials from a sacred 
Native American burial ground, that it will result in a tremendous increase 
in traffic, that shallow subsurface methane gas exists under the property in 
concentrations that dramatically exceed the lower explosive limit of such 
gases, and that large volumes of wastewater generated by the project will 
overtax existing waste treatment facilities. 

Both sides in the battle over Playa Vista's future seem equally deter- 
mined to prevail, so it may take many more years to reach a final resolu- 
tion of the key disputes. 


CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 79 




It . <* ~* 

Because of the shortage of new housing 
in the Los Angeles area, and because of 
Playa Vista's excellent location and 
amenities, demand for units far outstrips 
availability. Currently, more than 36,000 
people are on the waiting list for Playa 
Vista properties, which haven't even 
been built yet. 

Stephanie Goddard, a 32-year-old public 
relations executive and mother of 2- 
year-old Ryan, was among the first resi- 
dents of Playa Vista. She and her 
husband were on the waiting list for two 
years and then participated in multiple 
300-person lotteries in a park in Playa 
Vista before they finally had the chance 
to purchase their condominium. 

Goddard and her family have been living 
at Playa Vista for just over a year now 
and feel delighted with their choice. 

"The biggest daily perk," says Goddard, 
"is that we are all wireless in our home. 
We have a desktop, but then my hus- 
band and I also have laptops, so we can 
go anywhere in our condo and link up. 

On the days I work from home, I can sit 
on the couch, in bed, or on the patio 
and still be fully connected." 

Goddard employed the Technology 
Concierge to get her home network up 
and running. "They had somebody 
come out and talk to us about what we 
were looking to do, what our require- 
ments were, and then they got us set 
up. We incorporated a fax as a separate 
line, got our wireless access hooked up 
with the right software — we basically 
had one person come in, and that 
person organized the others to come 
and set things up. It wasn't very diffi- 
cult and there was no extra fee." 

Goddard hasn't taken advantage of the 
extreme gadgets her home could sup- 
port, such as Internet-enabled refrigera- 
tors (which run from $7,000 to $15,000) 
or the Polara refrigerated range from 
Whirlpool ($1,499;, 
which can keep a dish cold and then cook 
it, keep it warm, and re-refrigerate it, de- 
pending on the instructions it's fed re- 
motely via a cell phone, PC, or PDA. 

Fraychineaud says some residents at 
Playa Vista are spending up to $70,000 
on technology upgrades when they 
move in. Most residents spend that 
money on home entertainment systems. 

No More Dinner Bells 

Angela Glover, a 47-year-old entrepre- 
neur, moved into a 3,000-square-foot 
penthouse property in Playa Vista 
last year with her husband and her 
mother. She spent roughly $30,000 on 
technological amenities ranging from 
surround sound to a paging and in- 
tercom system. 

"Now I don't have to yell up to my 
mother when dinner is ready," she says. 

Glover's condo, which she bought for 
about $900,000, has already doubled in 
value. On her technology wish list is a 
security add-on featured called The 
Icebox, with which she could monitor 
the exterior of her property via live 
video feeds sent directly from security 
cameras to her kitchen. 

80 May 2005 / 

ce ©home 

"It hooks up to your fridge/' says 
Glover. "It's like a little TV, and then 
there are cameras mounted on the out- 
side of the unit and a mini plasma TV 
under the counter, so we can monitor 
everything from inside." She plans to 
purchase the system next year. 

Dream Machines 

For manufacturers of smart-living appli- 
ances, Playa Vista's approach to high- 
tech living is a rare recipe for success. 
The three major obstacles facing the 
makers of smart-living devices marketed 
to the general public are insufficient 
wiring, cost, and an attitude among 
consumers of skepticism or confusion 
about the viability of such devices. 

Steve Duthie, media relations manager 
for Whirlpool, says his company has 
participated in some pilot projects in 
cooperation with the Internet Home 
Alliance, a nonprofit cross-industry net- 
work of Fortune 200 companies, which 
conducts research about emerging 
home technology markets. 

"We're trying to determine whether or 
not there's any utility to them and 
whether people will pay for them," says 
Duthie. "So far, they look cool and act 
cool, but no one is clamoring for them." 

Duthie sees the primary hurdle con- 
sumers face when considering a product 
such as Whirlpool's Polara refrigerated 
range or its Personal Valet unit ($1,199), 
which presses and freshens garments 
and comes standard in some Playa Vista 
homes, as more a conceptual rather 
than a financial issue. 

"In order to sell a consumer on a com- 
pletely new idea, you have to break 
through a mindset. An appliance like 
the Polara, it's something that people 
can't conjure up an image of. And they 
think to themselves, 'Well, I'm not sure 
I'd feel comfortable leaving the home 
with a meal cooking in the oven.' But 
our testers absolutely loved them. 
They didn't want us to take them 
away," says Duthie. 

Unlike your average consumer, who 
may balk at the idea of taking the leap 
toward unusual and pricey appliances 
that make big, hard-to-believe promises, 
the residents of Playa Vista are well-pre- 
pared to imagine such things. They are 
walked through the selection and setup 
process by their Technology Concierge 
and live in homes that can handle the 
newest creations any appliance manu- 
facturer can throw at them. This elimi- 
nates the two biggest obstacles vendors 
face in making sales — skepticism and 
outdated wiring — which makes Playa 
Vistans an excellent market for compa- 
nies who want to find early adopters for 
their products. 

The extent to which smart appliances 
and high-tech amenities are available to 
Playa Vista residents in their homes is, at 
the moment, only limited by their bud- 
gets. And plans are in the works to add 
more technological conveniences in 
common areas, as well. 

Playa Vista has put an emphasis on cre- 
ating an old-fashioned feeling of com- 
munity in new-fashioned ways. In 
addition to building parks, pools, a li- 
brary, and a community center, there 
are plans to create Wi-Fi hotspots in all 
of the town's public parks, a move 
which is designed to get more people 
out of doors, so they can interact with 
their neighbors. 

Goddard is eager for the park-based Wi- 
Fi to be deployed. 

A Day In The Park 

"I'm really excited," she says, "because as 
the development grows, I could sit in 
the park with my son and check my 
email. That's part of the future vision; 
we're the first phase of Playa Vista." 

Also among new projects at Playa Vista, 
is PlayaLink, a community Web site. 

Kristin Ramsey, who left Coca-Cola to 
become Playa Vista's vice president of 
marketing, says, "PlayaLink is for resi- 
dents only. It's a place where residents 
can go and, via the message board, talk 
to each other about everything from 
the new park that's opening to a 
Mommy and Me group. We also work 
with partners outside of our community 
and offer to them to come in and reach 
this new group of consumers." 

Over the next five years, Playa Vista will 
continue to grow and expand, adding 
several thousand housing units, retail 
spaces, a fire station, and a new campus 
for video game developer Electronic Arts. 
While the three-hour-a-day, three-day-a- 
week work week of George Jetson's world 
does not seem to be on the horizon for 
Playa Vista residents, the smart amenities 
they enjoy at home and in the commu- 
nity growing up around them seem to 
more than make up for it. S=] 

by Naomi Graychase 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 81 

Quietly Setting A Whole New Standard. 

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you're looking for noise reduction or 
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we think you'll 
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(Please Print) 



Day Phone 

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E-mail (Optional) 

Mail to: Bose Corporation, Dept DMG-Q3729, The Mountain, Framingham, MA 01701-916 

Enhanced Comfort 
and Portability. 

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"The QuietComfort 2 lives up to its name, 
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Risk free refers to 30-day trial only. Delivery is subject to product availability. Quotes are reprinted with permission: Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, 5/29/03; Wayne Thompson, Oregonian, 4/18/03; Rich Warren, News-Gazette, 5/19/03. 

ce ©home 

Energy Efficiency 
At Home 

Turn It Off 


Change Your View 

With both digital cameras and digital cam- 
corders, the LCD screen consumes a huge 
amount of energy. Many people prefer to use 
the LCD to frame their shots, but shutting off 
the LCD and using the old-fashioned viewfinder 
instead can extend battery life. If your camera 
won't let you turn off the LCD, dim the screen 
until you can't see the picture anymore. 

Use Your Sleep Timer 

If you like to fall asleep watching a movie, set 
your TV's sleep timer to shut your TV off after 
the movie will end. If you know that no matter 
how hard you try to stay awake, you fall asleep 
10 minutes after going to bed, set your sleep 
timer to turn your TV off 15 or 20 minutes after 
you crawl into bed. You'll save power, and you'll 
likely get a better night of sleep, as well. 

Let Your Electronics 

Tnk^ A Nnn 

Your computer, especially your monitor, con- 
sumes a lot of power. Put your monitor or com- 
puter in hibernation mode to save energy. 
Hibernation mode, which doesn't take more than 
a few seconds to turn on, saves your data and 
then turns your computer off. When you turn it 
back on, the computer returns to what you were 
working on instead of restarting. Set your com- 
puter to hibernate after a few minutes of idle 
time. If you prefer manual control, manually turn 
your monitor off as soon as you're done. 


Choose Efficient 

When buying new equipment, look for elec- 
tronics with the Energy Star label. Household 
products with the Energy Star must meet strict 
energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. 
Department of Energy and the Environmental 
Protection Agency. These units often come 
equipped with more efficient standby modes. 
We also recommend choosing flat-screen 
monitors and TVs over bulky CRTs (cathode- 
ray tubes), printers that have duplex-printing 
capabilities, and inkjet printers instead of la- 
ser printers. 

Just as we are careful to turn a light off when 
leaving the room, we should consistently turn 
off electronics when we are done using them. 
After watching a DVD, don't just stop the disc 
and leave the room to do something else. Get 
up and turn the TV and DVD player off or at 
least to standby mode. Shut off printers and 
scanners when you finish using them. Save your 
video games and shut off the console instead of 
leaving the game on pause or in idle if you won't 
play it again for a while. If you don't use your fax 
machine often, turn the machine off until you 
are expecting one. 

by Paul Rogers 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 83 

J^^^ij^J'j^^iv^-ili-S-' ' 4 l ' ,: ''- } :; : : i^ *'i :\ ij 'i: !- : f'H : .; : • ■:/,. '■■■ : : ! ; i']|i»j<]%)|^|lK-'i^ljii'i : pi M^^i-i' ''■■'■ ■/ : '\-' u }h-''i^j' 

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First Glimpse Advertising Section 

This special advertising section presents the latest consumer electronics products now coming on the market. 
Browse through these First Glimpse pages to learn about new products before they appear on your local store shelves. 


Philips Streamium Home Cinema System 


Paradigm Compact Theater 


Optoma MovieTime DV10 


Optoma H57 


Optoma H79 


Escient Fireball DVDM-300 



Konica Minolta DiMage A200 


iriver H10 

Salamander Designs Synergy Quad 

Salamander Designs Olivia 



CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 85 


Philips Streamium MX600i Home Cinema System 

Philips Streamium AAX6000i Home Cinema System 

MSRP: $799.99 i 

"~ | I 

Options & Innovations 

The Philips MX6000i Streamium home theater system 
provides consumers with a world of home entertainment 
options and the latest audio and video innovations. With 
the ability to stream audio and video content from the PC 
or Internet, the MX6000i provides consumers with the ulti- 
mate choice in home cinema entertainment. Additionally, 
the system features a five-disc progressive scan DVD 
player and more than 450W of premium sound quality. 

Connecting Consumers With PC & Online 
Content Wherever, Whenever 

• Allows for wireless steaming of JPEG (Joint Photographic 
Experts Group), MP3, MP3PRO, MPEG, DivX (Digital Video 
Express), and XviD from the PC or Internet. 

• Access attractive online content from Philips service 
partners, including Yahoo!, iFilm,, Radio 
Free Virgin, Playhouse Radio, MusicMatch, and 

86 May 2005 / 

Unparalleled Audio Quality 

• Six integrated 75W (450 total watts) audio amplifiers drive 
the speakers and two subwoofers built into the columns. 

• Dolby Digital, Dolby ProLogic II, and DTS decoding ensures 
delivery of highly accurate and well-defined soundscapes. 

Crisp, Clear Video Images 

• The MX6000i features progressive-scan technology, which en- 
sures the viewer will enjoy a crisp, clear viewing environment. 


Sophisticated Style & Design 

• The modern lines and simple front panel of the MX6000i 
are designed to appeal to consumers who appreciate good 
looks as well as functionality. 

Wireless Technology 

• Allows consumers to wirelessly transfer content to the de- 
vice through Wi-Fi technology (802.1 1g). 

Philips Connected Planet 

• The Streamium MX6000i is part of Philips Connected 
Planet Vision, where consumers are able to access and 
enjoy content anywhere, anytime, any place, instantly, 
intuitively and spontaneously, with the use of broad- 
band-enabled wireless connectivity. 


CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 87 


Paradigm Thinks Outside The Box 
With Its New Compact Theater Line 

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "home the- 
ater in a box"? Most likely, you think of a so-so receiver and 
media player with tinny-sounding satellites thrown in almost 
as an afterthought. Do you feel that you need to settle for low- 
quality speakers to achieve a low-cost complete home theater 
system? Think again. 

Paradigm shows how it's done with its new line of 5.1 
Compact Theater systems: Cinema 70 CT, Cinema 90 CT, and 
Cinema 110 CT. These are Paradigm's most affordable com- 
plete and compact speaker systems to date and feature the 
company's award-winning Monitor Series technology. With 
the Cinema CT line, Paradigm delivers real audiophile-quality 
sound at really modest prices. 

Paradigm displays its commitment to affordable high-end 
products by giving you three different CT systems to choose 
from. Studio apartment dwellers and gamers will revel in the 
high-end sound the Cinema 70 system provides-four award 
winning Cinema 70 satellites and the Cinema CC (center 
channel), together with a compact subwoofer, bring multidi- 
mensional sound to games and movies. 

Then there's the dream system, Cinema 90 CT: two slightly 
larger Cinema 90 satellites up front and a Cinema CC are 

flanked by Paradigm's award-winning ADP speakers and a 
more powerful (but still compact) subwoofer. Cinema ADPs 
add reverberant surround sound for a supremely realistic 
music and multichannel soundstage. 

Finally, there's the brand new Cinema 110 CT, which forms 
a matched LCR system by using three larger speakers (identical 
in size, driver configuration, and, hence, identical specification) 
to optimize timbral accuracy across the front of your home 
theater or music listening room. The company's popular ADP 
surround speakers are also part of this package. 

As far as audiophile quality goes, we know that you've learned 
not to expect much from the speakers in a conventional home- 
theater-in-a-box system. But the "sub" in subwoofer doesn't have 
to mean "sub par." The powerful new compact Cinema CT v.3 
subwoofers meet the same standards as all of Paradigm's award- 
winning subwoofers, offering tremendous output, superb con- 
trol, and clean, articulate bass. The subwoofers also feature 
patented built-in, high-power, discrete amplifiers that provide 
exceptional high-current, low-distortion power. 

Designed with a compact profile, Cinema CTs will fit into 
any living space and blend with any decor. They're also very 
lightweight for easy maneuverability and installation. The 

88 May 2005 / 



result? Shockingly high sound quality with aesthetics to 
match, at a price that's truly affordable. 

Cinema CT Model Introduction 

Cinema 70 CT System 

Four Cinema 70 speakers: 3.5-inch bass/midrange driver, 
1-inch high-frequency driver 

One Cinema CC speaker: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange dri- 
vers, 1-inch high-frequency driver 
One Cinema 70 CT Subwoofer: 8-inch driver, 100W 
RMS/250W Peak 

Available finishes include silver, white, and black 
MSRP: $499 

Cinema 90 CT System 

Two Cinema 90 speakers: 4.5-inch bass/midrange driver, 
1-inch high-frequency driver 

One Cinema CC speaker: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange 
drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver 

Two Cinema ADP speakers: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange 

drivers, two 1-inch high frequency driver 

One Cinema 90 CT Subwoofer: 10-inch driver, 120W 

RMS/360W Peak 

Available finishes include silver, white, and black 

MSRP: $649 

Cinema 1 1 CT System 

Two Cinema 110 L/R speakers: two 4.5-inch bass/midrange 

drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver 

One Cinema 1 10 C speaker: two 4.5-inch bass/midrange 

drivers, 1-inch high-frequency driver 

Two Cinema ADP speakers: two 3.5-inch bass/midrange 

drivers, two 1-inch high-frequency drivers 

One Cinema 110 CT Subwoofer: 10-inch driver, 150W 

RMS/450W Peak 

Available finishes include silver, white, and black 

MSRP: $799 







CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 89 


Optoma MovieTime DV10 

Available June; AASRP: $1,495 

Bring Home Theater To The Masses 

Optoma Technology's new MovieTime DV10 is a digital home 
theater projector that features ultra bright, cinema-quality 
projection, a built-in DVD player, and high-performance 
speakers in a stylish, compact design. Movie enthusiasts can 
now enjoy video and sound in their homes instantly without 
the complexities and price usually associated with home- 
theater solutions. 

This pure digital DVD projector is preset from the DVD to 
the projected image, resulting in optimized DVD viewing with 
guaranteed color accuracy and distortion-free pictures. 

Other Optoma MovieTime DV10 Features 

The new MovieTime digital DVD projector is designed 
for a wide range of home entertainment, whether it's 
viewing the latest cinema titles or watching home movies 
with friends and family. The DV10 includes an integrated 
digital DVD player, two 5-Watt speakers, and a short 
throw lens. MovieTime features DLP (Digital Light 
Processing) technology from Texas Instruments and 
provides a direct digital signal from the DVD to the 

90 May 2005 / 


projector, producing accurate color and details for a 
rich home theater experience. It offers HDTV compatibility 
for high-definition entertainment from a variety of 
sources and an optimized setting display for true wide- 
screen cinema-quality performance. The DV10 also offers 
optical audio output, which is ideal for rich and engulfing 
Dolby and DTS home theater surround sound. The 
sound system can also be connected to an external 
audio system to give listeners a full 5.1 -channel surround- 
sound experience. 

MovieTime is also compatible with other sources such 
as gaming consoles, VCRs, and PCs. It projects an eight- 
foot image from less than nine feet with superb image and 
sound quality. 


The DLP™ Display Expert 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 91 


H57 Professional Native Widescreen Digital Cinema 

Optoma's native widescreen H57 features DarkChip2 tech- 
nology from Texas Instruments. 

The H57 outperforms big-ticket competitors with superior 
picture quality, a black level of 3000:1, and super-quiet opera- 
tion on 28dB (decibels). 

Fully compatible with every digital and analog source, the 
H57 has DVI-HDCP/HDMI (Digital Video Interactive-high- 

bandwidth digital content protection/high-definition multi- 
media interface), Component (RCA), S-Video, composite 
video, and RS232 communication. 

Features Include: 

• True 576-pixel resolution with UXGA (Ultra Extended 
Graphics Array) 

92 May 2005 / 



1100-lumen rating with 3000:1 high-contrast ratio 
Revolutionary shield design reduces light leakage and is 
whisper quiet at 28dB 

Industry-leading video processing and independently ad- 
justable color matrix 

Convenient DVI-HDCP, VGA, component (RCA), com- 
posite, and S-Video, RS232 input 

Minimum throw ratio of 1.57:1 

Adjustable cooling fan speed settings for higher altitudes 

Two-year warranty 

The DLP™ Display Expert 

CE Lifestyles / May 2005 93 


Optoma H79 

MSRP: $9,999 

H79 DarkChip3 DLP Widescreen 
Home Theater Projector 

The Optoma H79 home theater projector surpasses the 
quality of some of the best analog projectors at a fraction of 
the price, providing the most vivid, clear, and immersive dig- 
ital video experience possible. The H79 DarkChip3 DLP 
(Digital Light Processing) technology delivers a wider and 
smoother color palette with virtually no dithering in the lower 
end of the gray scale, as well as providing an incredibly rich 

brightness to win over even the most discerning of home the- 
ater aficionados. 

Features Include: 

• Advanced DarkChip3 DLP Technology 

• HDTV native for viewing widescreen TV signals 

94 May 2005 / 


Expanded connectivity includes DVI-I (Digital 
Visual Interface), BNC, component and S-Video hookups 
4500:1 contrast ratio-twice that of a professional theater- 
delivers subtle color details 
Bright, 1000-lumen rating 

Lamp life of 3,000 hours, while operating at a quiet 23 

5x, eight-segment DVE (dark video enhancement) color 
wheel technology with additional dark segments 
Two-year warranty 

The DLP™ Display Expert 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 95 


Escient FireBall DVDM-300 

MSRP: $4,999 



Group: Action 

Future Trek - Playing 

|| H M • GUIDE 

New Escient FireBall DVDM-300 

The FireBall DVDM-300 merges Escient's music management 
system with its DVD movie management system into a single 
home media server. 

Enjoy Every Movie In Your Collection At 
The Touch Of A Button 

With the DVDM-300, users can manage, control, and access 
more than 1,200 DVDs stored and protected in up to three ex- 
ternal Sony or Kenwood CD/DVD changers. To manage such a 
vast collection, the DVDM-300 utilizes Escient's patented auto- 
matic transport and identification technologies, as well as CD- 
recognition technology from Gracenote, to instantly find and 
play the desired disc stored in a connected changer. In addition, 
the DVDM-300 accesses Escient's world-renowned MovieDB 
DVD database to provide users with an integrated movie guide 
that automatically displays titles, cast information, ratings, run- 
ning time, and cover art for every movie in your collection. 

With a 300GB internal hard drive and the ability to manage 
up to 1,200 external CDs, the new Escient FireBall DVDM-300 
can store and catalog even the largest music collections. It is 
now possible to store over 850 hours of true CD-quality music 
using the new FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) encoder or 
over 5,000 hours of MP3 music (depending on compression 
rate). In addition, with built-in file-sharing services, consumers 
can easily transfer music files between the DVDM-300 and 
their PC or Mac, allowing music library backups and music file 
importing. The file-sharing services also allow users to stream 
and listen to audio files directly from their FireBall to a com- 
puter on the same network. 


Like all Escient FireBall music management products, the 
DVDM-300 features a built-in CD-RW that lets users rip CDs 
directly to the internal hard drive. The CD-RW drive also 

96 May 2005 / 


*■ 'O' M ' "<■ 

T Future Trek 

I Stars: Blaze Matfhewsort, Kate Davenport 

r Year: 1998 

L Genre: Sci-Fi 

E Time: 132 min 

S Location: Changer 1 

allows users to burn customized mix CDs based on user- 
created playlists. Thanks to the new optimized FLAC encoder, 
the DVDM-300 provides true CD-quality recording (elimi- 
nating the loss of information inherent to conventional MP3 
compression), while using much less disk space when com- 
pared to the original CD. In addition, the improved DVDM- 
300 user interface improves the entire recording process, 
allowing automated recording from the internal drive and 
connected external CD changers. 

Easy Setup & Integration 

The FireBall DVDM-300*s built-in 10/100 Ethernet con- 
nector allows easy connection to a variety of in-home, wired, 
or wireless networks. Once connected, users can stream files 
across the home network, as well as back up files from the 
FireBall. Furthermore, with the integrated Web server, a 
DVDM-300 can be controlled from any PC or Mac on the 

network using the Escient EWP-2000 wireless touch panel or 
an HTML-compatible browser (Internet Explorer or Safari) 
from a PC or Mac. 

Easily installed in as little as 15 minutes, the FireBall DVDM- 
300 ships with Quick Set-Up instructions that show several 
connection options. Free third-party external control modules 
for advanced custom installations are available on the Escient 
Web site. 

we make technology behave. 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 97 


New Konica Minolta 8MP Digital SLR 
(Single Lens Reflex) Camera: The DiMAGE A200 

Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 

MSRP: $799 

The new high-performance 8MP DiMAGE A200 provides su- 
perb image quality and features Konica Minolta's Anti-Shake 
technology, unique new Vari-Angle LCD monitor, and built-in 
7X optical zoom lens. 

Product Highlights 

Vari-Angle LCD Monitor: The 1.8-inch TFT LCD monitor 
rotates 270 degrees vertically and 180 degrees horizontally, 
allowing photographers to hold the camera in a comfortable 
position at high- and low-angle shots while still viewing the 
LCD straight on. And, because photographers can view the 
LCD while they get in just the right position for a self-por- 
trait, the DiMAGE A200 is great for taking shots from a va- 
riety of different angles. 

Included Wireless Remote Control: Photographers can take 
self-portraits using the camera's remote control. They can also 
connect the DiMAGE A200 to a TV and control the images 

with the remote control. This allows users to sit back and 
enjoy the pictures and movies they took that same day. 

Digital Zoom: The 4X digital zoom gives up to a 28X total 
zoom when combined with the optical zoom, providing a 
maximum focal length of 800mm, which is perfect for distance 
shots or sporting events. And, even shots at a focal length of 
800mm are free of jerky movements thanks to Konica 
Minolta's Anti-Shake technology. Photographers can choose 
from two digital zoom modes: image interpolation digital 
zoom (in which the number of pixels doesn't change) and 
normal mode (cropped into 2MP). The digital zoom can also 
be accessed from any point of the optical zoom using the 
handy digital zoom lever on the rear panel. 

High-Quality Movie Recording: The DiMAGE A200 incorpo- 
rates a true VGA (Video Graphics Array) movie (640 x 480 
pixels) mode. This allows users to record high-quality movies 
at 30 fps, rivaling images seen on TV. Users can also take high- 
quality SVGA (Super VGA; 800 x 600 pixels) movies at 15 fps, 

98 May 2005 / 



which look good even on a large PC monitor. The DiMAGE 
A200 lets photographers use both the digital and optical 
zoom when recording movies, allowing them to capture im- 
ages at a maximum focal length of 800mm (35mm equiva- 
lent). And, the Night Movie function makes subjects highly 
visible even in dark settings. The DiMAGE A200 also comes 
bundled with fun-to-use video software, Video Studio 8 SE by 
ULEAD, which lets users import and edit images and then 
output them to video CDs. 

Sure-Grip, Ergonomic: Despite its professional-level 
picture quality and features, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE 
A200 is compact and weighs just 17.8 ounces, making it 
easy to take on vacations and day trips. And although it's 
small, the DiMAGE A200's grip makes it easy to hold when 
taking pictures. 

Various AF (Auto Focus) Mode: Wide Focus Area mode in- 
forms photographers of focused points by flashing them when 
the shutter is pressed halfway down. Predictive Focus Control 

keeps moving subjects in focus. 1 1 -Point Focus Area is perfect 
for switching the AF point instantaneously on the main posi- 
tions in the frame. Flex Focus Point is perfect for higher-preci- 
sion auto focusing. These features are very effective for 
capturing action in unusual lighting. 

Ultra High-Speed Continuous Shooting: When photogra- 
phers really need to fire off as many shots as possible in a lim- 
ited amount of time, select the UHS (Ultra High Speed) mode 
on the menu to set the camera to capture images at a contin- 
uous advance of 40 frames at 10 fps. For convenience, these 
images can be captured in VGA format. 


CELifestyles / May 2005 99 



MSRP: $279.99 

iriver H10 Player Sets New Standards For Features, 
Ease Of Use & Music Service Compatibility 

The H10 player is the newest member of the iriver music 
player family, with a more intuitive user experience, color 
display, swappable battery, and touch strip control. The stylish 
new 5GB players come in four colors (Lounge Gray, Remix 
Blue, Trance Red, and Triple Platinum) and offer vivid, color 
screens for viewing photos. 

The H10 is designed to be PlaysForSure-verified out of the 
box, and it works seamlessly with Windows Media Player 10, 
including support for Auto Sync to sync your music, photos, 
and playlists. With the H10, you can choose from a growing 
number of PlaysForSure download and subscription stores, 

such as FYE (For Your Entertainment), MSN Music, 
Musicmatch, MusicNow, Napster, and Wal-Mart Music 

The H10 also supports innovative, online, portable sub- 
scription services, such as Napster's Napster To Go, to provide 
customers an array of music, news, business, and entertain- 
ment audio content. 

The iriver H10 plays up to 150 hours of digital music and 
includes a rechargeable and replaceable battery, integrated 
voice recorder, and a digital FM tuner with FM recording ca- 
pabilities. The players come bundled with iriver earphones, a 

100 May 2005 / 



quality carrying case, installation software CD, AC adapter, 

• Supports portable subscription service Napster To Go 

USB 2.0 cable, an interface cable, and a printed users manual. 

• Rechargeable, removable battery lasts up to 12 hours 

iriver H10 5GB Features: 

• Built-in FM tuner and FM recorder 

• Integrated voice recorder 

• Plays up to 1 50 hours of digital music 

• Ultra-fast USB 2.0 transfers 

• 5GB of internal storage 

• Supports MP3, WMA, JPEG, and TXT files 

• Vivid, color display 

• Enhanced 3D audio 

• Ultra-intuitive interface with convenient touch strip 

• Dimensions: 3.8 inches high x 2.2 inches wide x 0.6 

• Displays digital photos 

inches deep ■ ■ 

• Slim, lightweight design 

• Weight: 3.4 ounces 1 f 1 \ //"\ f 

• PlaysForSure-enabled 

1 | IVUl 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 101 


Salamander Designs Synergy Quad 

Available May 1; MSRP: starts at $899 

Synergy Quad From Salamander Designs 
Wide-Screen Panel TV Platform 

Salamander Designs has added a new unit, the Quad, to its 
Synergy modular furniture series. 

The Quad is a full 87 inches wide, more than four times the 
width of the Synergy Single module. Its substantial span, and 
the fact that it accepts the company's Flat Panel Mount, 
makes it ideal for supporting flat-panel TV displays with 
screens up to 61 inches wide and DLP (digital light processing) 
TVs as wide as 80 inches. 

The four-cabinet sections beneath the Quad's sturdy top 
shelf contain ample room for related electronic entertainment 
components. Moveable shelf pegs, which fit into support-post 
grooves, slide vertically and then lock at any height, making in- 
terior shelves infinitely adjustable. Rear cabinet panels leave 
openings for cables and provide component ventilation. 

Like sibling modules in the Salamander Designs Synergy fur- 
niture series, buyers can customize Quads at the time of pur- 
chase. Three genuine hardwood finishes (cherry, maple, and 

walnut) are available in addition to black, and the anodized 
aluminum support posts, which add substantial strength to 
the units, come in matte silver or anodized black. 

While most users purchase doors and side panels for their 
Synergy units, others leave the shelves and support posts ex- 
posed. Open or enclosed, Quads are easily fitted with various 
Synergy accessories. The many options include wheels or 
custom feet, drawers, double-width interior shelves, glass 
shelves, lighting, and integrated door locks, to name just a few. 

The Synergy Quad is available in three different heights (12 
inches, 21 inches, and 31 inches), and Salamander Designs of- 
fers options for extending them upward. This allows pur- 
chasers to create elegant wall units. 


Salamander Designs 

102 May 2005 / 



Salamander Designs Olivia 

MSRP: Starts at $2,000 

Salamander Designs Broadens Its Line Of Theater 

Chairs With The Olivia 

Salamander Designs has added a new model, the Olivia, to its 
theater seating line. 

The Olivia is generously proportioned and provides an ex- 
tremely comfortable, oversized seating surface that measures 
26 inches wide x 24 inches deep. Quilted leather surfaces cover 
both the base and sides while the seat cushion, back, and arm- 
rests are covered in a plush, suede-like microfiber. 

Customers are invited to customize their Olivias. They 
have a choice of 14 leather finishes: Eclipse Black, Mora, 
Ruby, Ocean, Hunter Green, Green Tea, Streetlight, Sunrise, 
Yellow, Sea, Chocolate, Mineral, Harvest, and Tudor. Nine 
different colors are available for the chair's suede-like sur- 
faces, including Stone, Espresso, Moss, Putty, Sage, Aqua, 
Cherry, Brandy, and Bone. 

The Olivia is available in all leather or leather and micro- 
suede combinations starting at a manufacturer's suggested re- 
tail price of $2,000. 

To allow customers maximum flexibility, Salamander 
Designs is offering various versions of the Olivia, which is avail- 
able as a standard recline chair and also as a powered recliner. 
A matching ottoman is available, as well. It has a built-in 
storage compartment and it rolls easily on hidden wheels. 

Placing the ottoman against the front edge of a fixed-back 
Olivia, in effect, converts the chair to a chaise lounge. 

In keeping with its modular furniture philosophy, the com- 
pany also provides left-arm-only, right-arm-only, armless, and 
corner-module Olivias. These, in conjunction with special con- 
nector pieces, combine in various ways to let users create 
straight theater rows of chairs, an Olivia loveseat or an Olivia 
sofa, and even an L-shaped Olivia arrangement similar to that 
of conventional sectional sofas. 

For those who prefer it to a corner seat in an L-shaped 
arrangement, Salamander Designs offers a matching Olivia 
corner console table. 

For additional convenience, the Olivia has storage compart- 
ments in each arm, and a cup holder is built into each arm, as 
well. Every Olivia also includes a removable lumbar pillow cov- 
ered in suede-like microfiber. 


Salamander Designs 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 103 

(LLort a C^OUrse for extreme brightness and high 
resolution with JVC's HD-ILA TV, powered by 3-Chip D-ILA. 
Featuring amazing picture quality and incredible sound, JVC's 
D-ILA (Direct Drive Image Light Amplifier) TV is designed to 
change the way you experience television. If you've been on 
a treasure hunt seeking both style and state-of-the-art in one 
cool, thin package, look no further - your search is over. But 
beware: with JVC's HD-ILA TV you just might actually feel as 
though there are pirates in your living room. 



The Perfect Experience 







m u 

by Liz Dixon 


Tori Amos 

'The Beekeeper". $18.98 

Progression is necessary to stay fresh 
and successful in the music biz. Tori 
Amos burst onto the scene in 1991 
with "Little Earthquakes" but arguably 
got stuck in an artistic rut with a 
couple of her intermediate, somewhat 
disparaging albums. She seems to have 
come full circle with "The Beekeeper," 
her newest addition. It is innovative 
and intensely thoughtful, and while 
some critics of her previous albums 
may have implied that she had 
reached a creative plateau, "The 
Beekeeper" demonstrates a newfound 
level of maturity and creativity we 
hadn't seen in her prior work. 

Amos has really hit her musical mark 
with this one. "Ribbons Undone" says 
it best: "It is her time/Watch her run." 
She seems to have come to terms 
with her quirkiness and has embraced 
this evolution of her lyrics and mu- 
sical style. 

" Life seems to go on 

f, when 


I am filled with music. 

—George Eliot 

Regina Spektor 

"Soviet Kitsch". $15.98 

If you dig the tone of Tori Amos, you 
might also appreciate up-and-coming 
solo gig Regina Spektor. This girl shows 
her graceful talent on the piano, but with 
a brash, Ani DiFranco-esque style. The 
mixture of her elegant piano playing with 
her somewhat harsh, bitter lyrics reveals 
the heartfelt sentiment in this album. 




y. hotel 



"Hotel" -$18.98 

Even those who may not have previously 
enjoyed Moby's electron ica sound may 
want to check out this album. Guest vocalist 
Laura Dawn gives this go-around a more 
mellow sound than Moby's other albums. 
For those who prefer his old, eclectic style, 
don't worry: The album is still funky enough 
to keep you involved. 

Jack Johnson 

"In Between Dreams" • $13.98 

Maybe Jack Johnson's ability to take listeners 
to another time and place has to do with his 
surfing background, as his newest feel-good 
album offers a retreat into his bubbly world. 
Well, the ocean isn't the only thing he's in 
tune with. Still, after listening, we're left won- 
dering: How do you tell the difference be- 
tween this guy and John Mayer anyway? 

"Picaresque". $16.98 

Singer/guitarist Colin Meloy truly shines on 
this, the Decern berists' third fanciful, full- 
length album. The band teams up with pro- 
ducer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), 
offering a cornucopia of noteworthy, indie 
eccentricity. The lyrics instigate literary-type 
brewing, with the music flawlessly backing 
up their storytelling mastery. 

106 May 2005 / 

m o v i 

by Samit G. Choudhuri 

"Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason" 


Fans of author Helen Fielding's "Bridget Jones's Diary" or viewers of 
the thoroughly enjoyable 2001 film of the same name will need 
little introduction to Bridget Jones. Bridget is that cute, lovable, 
bumbling friend who always got herself into trouble, and no matter 
how irritating she was, she left you with that "awwww" feeling. 
Renee Zellweger, back in the title role, is rumored to have upsized 
from a dress size of 6 to 14 for her role (now that's dedication!), 
and leading men Colin Firth and Hugh Grant reprise their original 
roles. The sequel is mostly a series of comedic events that loses the 
original's cohesive quest for true love and tongue-in-cheek urgency. 
It's a good laugh, but much more forgettable. 

"Finding Neverland" 


Director Marc Forster of "Monster's Ball" brings playwright J. M. 
Barrie's (the man who introduced the world to Peter Pan) life to the 
big screen with an innocent and rather touching sweep of his direc- 
torial hand. Johnny Depp turns in yet another superb performance 
as the gentle Barrie, and Kate Winslet steps up as Sylvia Llewelyn 
Davies, the widow whose orphans would later inspire Barrie for the 
work he would forever be remembered by. "Finding Neverland" is a 
gentle gem of a film that was nominated for seven Academy Awards. 



It's not often we get to offer up a director from our local area 
(Omaha, Neb.), but Alexander Payne is more than up to the task in 
the middle-aged-men-coming-of-age film. Paul Giamatti (Miles, a 
middle-school teacher feeling very much down on his luck) and 
Thomas Haden Church (Jack, a washed-up actor on the verge of 
marriage) road trip to California wine country in that rare buddy 
flick that both sexes can enjoy equally. The pair run into Virginia 
Madsen's Maya— a woman who sees through Miles' insecuri- 
ties and communicates with him in a most sweet and tender 
way. This intelligent, bittersweet drama is a mix of tragedy and 
comedy that's liberally sprinkled with hope. 

(2-Disc Collector's Edition) 


Pixar (the genius behind "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story," 
among others) brings in another hit by calling on the 
writing and directorial skills of Brad Bird (the talent be- 
hind the superb yet quite underrated "The Iron Giant"). 
What would happen if you took two hot, young super- 
heroes, married them, and threw them into the future as 
middle-aged parents who have put their heroic days be- 
hind them to raise a family? You end up with a story that 
strikes a chord with the whole family and is something 
you can laugh at and enjoy together. After 1 5 years, dad 
has a much wider waistline, mum's gotten bigger in the 
hips, and they have two children with some obvious su- 
perhero genetics at a time when superhero shenanigans 
are illegal. And wouldn't you know it— the world is in 
danger yet again. It's a good thing superhero costumes 
stretch to fit. This is A-List family entertainment. 

(Platinum 2-Disc Special Edition) 


Disney's classic car- 
toon tearjerker has 
been digitally re- 
mastered and 
restored. This is 
the best "Bambi" 
has looked and 
sounded since its 
theatrical debut in 
1942. In addition to 
the new 5.1 Disney 
Enhanced Home Theater Mix, the 
disc includes the original mono mix 
for purists. If your child has not been 
exposed to death, you may wish to 
watch this film with her the first time. 
Who among us can say they didn't 
cry when Bambi's mother was killed 
by the hunters? Some of us still shed 
a flow of tears. Ultimately, "Bambi" is 
a sweet children's classic that shows 
one baby deer's growth into adult- 
hood with ample comic relief from a 
wacky rabbit (Thumper) and darling 
skunk (Flower). Kids will also enjoy 
some of the extra bonus content tar- 
geted specifically at them. Last but 
not least, Disney has a habit of pulling 
movies from the market after a cer- 
tain period of time, so don't wait if 
you're interested. Pick the film up 
along with a box of tissues. 








"The River" (The Criterion 
Collection): This is a 1951 art 
film of substance by Jean Renoir 
that's about three English girls 
who live along a river bank in 
Bengal during postwar India. 
The timeless metaphors pre- 
sented through Renoir's deli- 
ciously exotic camerawork will 
transport you to a bygone era. 

"Ladder 49": This is not your 
typical action fare and feels al- 
most like an homage to the 
good work done by your local 
working-class heroes. These 
folks risk their lives every day to 
keep us safe (and Joaquin 
Phoenix and John Travolta pull 
off their respective roles as the 
newbie and veteran firefighters 
with aplomb). 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 107 

games . . . 

fr^r \/n>\ i nnH tho nonnb in \/r 

for you and the people in your life 


PlayStation Portable 

Hot Shots Golf 

Golf doesn't have to revolve around constant 
scowling and wrapping your 7-iron around 
the nearest tree, and Sony's Hot Shots Golf is 
convincing proof. New character customiza- 
tion abilities let you create your own duffer 
from scratch with over 50 customizable body 
parts, accessories, golf clubs, and balls. Al- 
though the game's characters have a comical 
feel, the real-world golf physics ensure the 
gameplay is as serious as Tiger Woods on the 
18th green. 


»M ; i »:i i ;t>ijira 

ESRB Rating: Rating Pending 


Sony Computer 

Entertain America 

Gran Turismo 4 Mobile 

When your two-hour commute through 
rush hour traffic leaves you frazzled, Sony's 
Gran Turismo 4 Mobile can be the perfect 
stress reliever. Director Kazunori Yamauchi 
has said the PlayStation Portable version of 
the popular racing game's fourth installment 
should transition seamlessly from the 
PlayStation 2 version. With more than 700 
vehicles ranging from a 1965 Fiat 500F to a 
2005 Ford GT, you'll have plenty of opportu- 
nities to exercise your lead foot. 



ESRB Rating: Rating Pending 


Sony Computer 

Entertainment America 

-Nintendo DS 

Yoshi Touoh & Go 

Nintendo's favorite green dinosaur and 
Italian plumber (albeit an infant version of 
the mustachioed hero) return for an adven- 
ture on the Nintendo DS. Yoshi Touch & Go 
takes full advantage of the DS's stylus in two 
intuitive ways. In vertical-action levels, use 
the stylus to shield Baby Mario from enemies 
and guide him to Yoshi. On horizontal- 
scrolling levels, the stylus helps Yoshi avoid 
obstacles as he tromps over various terrains. 


ESRB Rating: (E)veryone 






LEGO: Star Wars 

A synthesis of one of the most popular toy franchises with one of the most pop- 
ular movie franchises, Eidos Interactive's LEGO: Star Wars lets you relive adven- 
tures from "The Phantom Menace," "Attack of the Clones," and the upcoming 
"Revenge of the Sith." LEGO: Star Wars might be a kinder, gentler way to intro- 
duce young fans to the Star Wars series, instead of Star Wars games geared toward 
more mature gamers. 


ESRB Rating: (E)veryone 


Eidos Interactive 

108 May 2005 / 

Ceiva 2 Digital Photo 

For some family members we know, 
half the reason to own a computer is 
to get the latest photos of the 
grandkids. This handy digital photo 
frame solves that issue, to some ex- 
tent. The Ceiva 2 Digital Photo 
Receiver ($149.95 plus $6.95/month 
subscription fee; 
uses a phone line to automatically 
download up to 30 new photos 
from a server each night, securely 
and without long-distance charges 
or interruptions to the phone ser- 
vice. You may invite family members 
to send pics to the server via PC, or 
you can beam them directly into the 
Ceiva from a camera phone using 
the new CEIVAMobile feature. 
Unfortunately, there's currently no 
way for users to save or print photos 
from the Ceiva, which seems like a 
major omission. Anyway, the unit's 
LCD is 5 x 7 inches, but a much 
larger 15-inch Ceiva with wireless ca- 
pabilities should appear this year. 

• Samsonite Park 

• Avenue Nylon 
Business Case 

If you'd rather leave your significant 
other behind than your notebook 
computer, make sure you treat that 
laptop right in transit. Samson ite's 
Park Avenue ( is a 
combination notebook case and 
travel bag the size of a large purse. 
It's available in soft nylon ($120) or 
leather ($250) in black, silver, and 
red. There's room for a 17-inch note- 
book inside, but a movable partition 
lets you resize the padded chamber 
to smaller models. A waterproof flap 
provides reasonable rain protection, 
while pockets and pouches offer 
loads of storage for documents, ca- 
bles, and a cell phone. Speaking of 
phones, that's probably your 
boyfriend calling now to whine, 
"Wait uuuuuup." 

TikiMac Big Tiki Drive 

Put on your PVC grass skirt, pick up 
your discount store ukelele, and 
start speaking pidgin Polynesian! It's 
time to add another bit of faux 
South Pacific culture to your life 
with the Big Tiki Drive (kahuna At nearly 4 inches tall, 
this USB 2.0 flash drive cuts an im- 
posing figure, at least compared to 
lesser USB drives. The Big Tiki comes 
with a glowing cable that simulates 
fiery lava behind its wrathful eyes. 
The gods have made him compat- 
ible with Mac OS 9.1 and later, OS X 
10.1.2 and up, and Windows 
2000/Me/XP. For as little as $59 
(256MB), plus the cost of a pet 
tarantula, you can scare off that 
pesky Brady Bunch any time they 
come around. 

. & aifts 

on the lighter side of technology 

by Marty Sems 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 109 

Evolution Of Portable 
Audio Players 



^^ The first device to let people 
take their own music with them 
wherever they went was the 
original Sony 
Walkman, model 
TPS-L2. It cost 
$200, weighed 14 
ounces, and was 
not much larger 
than the audio 
cassette it played. 
Consumers loved 
it, and competitors 
followed Sony's example. 


k ^**«* liilT 

Sony introduced the 
MiniDisc, and its first 
portable MiniDisc player was 
the model MZ-1. The MD was 
a new digital audio disc that 
competed with the audio cas- 
sette. It was a magneto-optical 
disc with a 2.5-inch diameter. 
Competitive portable DCC 
players arrived 
in 1993. 


Sony D-50 

^^^ As CD popularity continued to 

grow, Sony introduced its first 
portable CD player— the model D-50. It 
was the size of a CD case, cost $299, and 
helped boost CD sales. The D-50 evolved 
into the Discman. 


Sonv TCD-D3 


Diamond Multimedia 

created the market for 

fill-it-yourself portable 

digital audio players 

with the introduction of 

the Rio PMP300. For 

under $200, it 

was one of 

the first 




players to 

store music 

in internal 

flash memory 

(32MB) and 

to use MP3 

digital audio 


^^ Despite the popularity of the CD, the 
evolution of the audio cassette continued 
with DAT (Digital Audio Tape) technology and, 
in 1992, the competitive Digital Compact 
Cassette. Audiophiles said DAT sounded as 
good as CD. Sony introduced its first DAT 
Walkman, the TCD-D3, in 1990 for $850. 

110 May 2005 / 


Creative Nomad 

Creative Labs was the first well-known 
maker of portable digital audio players to in- 
tegrate a hard drive in the 
device. The Nomad 
Jukebox had a 
6GB hard drive 
that could 
store more 
than 100 hours 
of music. It cost 


mole iPod Shuffle 

^^^ This year, Apple introduced the 

iPod Shuffle. At $99 for a 512MB ver- 
sion or $149 for a 1GB version, it is the 
lowest capacity and least-expensive product 
in the iPod line. The iPod Shuffle weighs as 
little as a car key, and you can connect it to 
your computer using a USB port. 



The iconic iPod debuted at $399 
with a 5GB hard drive and a super-fast 
FireWire port, 
which let you 
transfer 1,000 
songs to the iPod 
from a PC in less 
than 10 minutes. 
Later models fea- 
tured hard drive 
sizes ranging 
from 10GB 
to 60GB. 




Last year, Lexar introduced the first 
portable digital audio player to play con- 
tent from a removable USB flash drive. The 
JumpGear-MP3 works 
with Lexar's 
JumpDrive Sport 
and comes in 
two configura- 
tions: as a 
standalone for 
$49.99 or with a 64MB 
JumpDrive Sport for $89.99. 

Audio On The Go 

What's coming next in the 
evolution of portable audio 
players? In the second half 
of this year, we expect to 
see integration with wireless 
networking technology, 
such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, 
so you can use wireless 
headsets or connect wire- 
lessly to a computer. S§ 

by Robert E. Calem 

CE Lifestyles/ May 2005 111 

Patio CE 

Even though spring is two months old, May signals 
the beginning of genuinely good weather. And 
how better to celebrate this yearly awakening than 
with an outdoor fete with friends and family? Stay 
connected while keeping your belly full and your 
party going until the wee hours of the morning. 



ie outdoor equiva 
of iRobot's Roomba lets 
you mow from your -* 

www. smart home. 


Market Umbrella 

This functional and environ- 
mentally friendly umbrella 
keeps the light off you during 
the day and on you at night. 

ose FreeSpace 
51 speakers 

Keep your guests' toes 
pping outside all day 
id all night with these 
owd pleasers. 



From pizza to poult. 7 
this griller's must-hav 
will make you a barl 
miing Betty Crocker. 



iy is the be 
ar to see the star 
Antares. Capture its 
burgundy beauty with 
these camera binocu- 

alking Remote 

This award-winning, 
two-piece system keeps 
you mingling with your 
guests while your food 
is grilled to perfection. 

112 May 2005 / 

.brooks tone, com 



Electric Ratio 

Turn even a small patio 
into a barbecuing haven 
with this small but 
mighty grill. 

At first look you are awestruck by the beauty of Sanus Component Furniture. And when you investigate deeper you see the strength 
of aluminum pillars blended with the character of solid hardwoods and unique features like tempered glass shelves and a wire man- 
agement system. Component Furniture includes cabinets, armoires and digital TV stands that configure to your exact needs. Add the 
Sanus Convection Cooling System that allows air to flow around heat-generating A/V gear like a cooling canyon breeze 
and you have Component Furniture that echoes of quality and performance. 






Experience television in a whole new light. 

Philips flat TV with Ambilight. Turn on any flat TV from Philips with 

Ambient Light Technology, and watch what happens. Your eyes see more 

than what's on the screen, as color and light expand beyond the frame and 

onto the walls. You bask in the warm glow of the background lighting that 

automatically changes color and intensity to reduce eye strain and provide a 

more relaxed viewing environment And with Pixel Plus™ 2, you experience 

the detail and vivid colors that are as close to real life as you can get. For a 

deeper view of the entire Philips Flat TV™ line, featuring Ambient Light Technology, 

check out Its unlike anything you've ever seen before. 

TQnbl light f\j 



sense and simplicity